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  • Karner Blue Butterfly Recovery Plan (Lycaeides melissa samuelis)

    September 2003

    Department of the Interior U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

    Great Lakes - Big Rivers Region (Region 3) Fort Snelling, Minnesota

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    David Andow, Team Leader Department of Entomology University of Minnesota St. Paul, Minnesota

    Miles Benson Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin (former Director of Timberlands, Consolidated Papers, Inc.)

    Catherine Carnes U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Recovery Coordinator Ecological Services Field Office (Green Bay) New Franken, Wisconsin

    Mark Clough U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Robyn Niver) New York Field Office Cortland, New York

    Rex Ennis Huron-Manistee National Forest Cadillac, Michigan

    Stephanie Gifford The Nature Conservancy (Neil Gifford) Troy, New York (formerly Bob Zaremba)

    Bill Gilbert Plum Creek Timber Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin

    Thomas Givnish Botany Department University of Wisconsin Madison, Wisconsin

    Alan Haney College of Natural Resources University of Wisconsin Stevens Point, Wisconsin

    Steve Hatting Huron-Manistee National Forest White Cloud, Michigan

    Paul Kooiker Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (formerly Cathy Bleser) Grantsburg, Wisconsin

    Cynthia Lane Ecological Strategies, LLC Maiden Rock, Wisconsin

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    Kathy O'Brien New York Department of Environmental Conservation Albany, New York

    Pat Lederle Michigan Department of Natural Resources (formerly Mary Rabe) Lansing, Michigan

    Dale Schweitzer The Nature Conservancy Port Norris, New Jersey

    John Shuey The Nature Conservancy Indianapolis, Indiana

    Jennifer Szymanski U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Onalaska, Wisconsin

    Larry Wargowsky Necedah National Wildlife Refuge Necedah, Wisconsin

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    * * *

    This recovery plan has been prepared by the Karner Blue Butterfly Recovery Team under the leadership of Dr. David Andow, University of Minnesota-St. Paul. Dr. John Shuey and Dr. Cynthia Lane assisted with the writing of the document. The purpose of the plan is to delineate reasonable actions needed to restore and protect the endangered Karner blue butterfly (Lycaeides melissa samuelis). Recovery objectives will be attained and funds made available subject to budgetary and other constraints affecting the parties involved, as well as the need to address other priorities.

    The plan does not necessarily represent the views or official position of any individuals or agencies involved in plan formulation, other than the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The plan represents the official position of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service only after it has been signed by the Regional Director. Approved recovery plans are subject to modification as dictated by new findings, changes in species status, and the completion of recovery actions.


    U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 2003. Final Recovery Plan for the Karner Blue Butterfly (Lycaeides melissa samuelis). U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Fort Snelling, Minnesota.

    273 pp.


    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Ecological Services Field Office 2661 Scott Tower Drive New Franken, Wisconsin 54229 920-866-1717


    Fish and Wildlife Reference Service 5430 Grosvenor Lane, Suite 100 Bethesda, Maryland 20814 301-492-6403 or 1-800-582-3421 Fax: 301-564-4059 Email: fw9_fa_reference_service@fws.gov http://fa.r9.fws.gov/r9fwrs/

    Fees for plans obtained from the Fish and Wildlife Reference Service vary depending on the number of pages in the plan. Recovery plans can be downloaded from the FWS website: http://endangered.fws.gov

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    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recognizes that development of this draft recovery plan would not have been possible without the assistance of the many individuals who attended recovery team meetings, and contributed valuable information to the process. Special thanks goes to Mary Parkin, the Service's Region 5 Recovery Coordinator, who, while not seen but at one meeting, was ever-present as a guide and support in the evolution of this plan. Acknowledgement goes to Catherine Carnes, the Service’s Karner Blue Butterfly Recovery Coordinator who oversaw and coordinated this project.

    The Service also wishes to especially acknowledge the following individuals who served as technical consultants to the recovery team for their efforts on behalf of the species:

    Mr. Richard King Necedah National Wildlife Refuge, Wisconsin Dr. Judi Maxwell University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin Mr. Robert Welch Waupaca Field Station, Waupaca, Wisconsin

    Thanks also to the following individuals who gave of their time and expertise to assist with this plan development:

    Michael Amaral Dave Lentz Nancy Braker Kim Mello Hilda Diaz-Soltero Amelia Orton-Palmer Buddy Fazio Noel Pavlovic Anthony Frank Chuck Pils Ralph Grundel Rebecca Power Mark Heil Gregory Smith Bob Hess Janet Smith Ken Hujanen John Staszcuk Craig Johnson Kathy Trudell Randy Jurewicz David VanLuven Chuck Kjos Tim Wilder Randy Knutson Jennifer Windus Paul Kooiker Mike Zeckmeister

    Also, special thanks goes to David Kopitzke for the Karner blue butterfly artwork that appears on the cover and within the body of this document.

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    EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Karner Blue Butterfly Recovery Plan

    Current Species Status: The Karner blue butterfly, Lycaeides melissa samuelis Nabokov (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae), formerly occurred in a band extending across 12 states from Minnesota to Maine and in the province of Ontario, Canada, and now only occurs in the seven states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan, New York, New Hampshire, and Ohio. Wisconsin and Michigan support the greatest number of Karner blue butterflies and butterfly sites. The majority of the populations in the remaining states are small and several are at risk of extinction from habitat degradation or loss. Based on the decline of the Karner blue across its historic range, it was listed as endangered in 1992. Since listing, two populations have been extirpated and are being reintroduced to Concord, New Hampshire, and West Gary, Indiana. A third population is being reintroduced to Ohio.

    Habitat Requirements and Limiting Factors: The Karner blue butterfly is dependent on wild lupine, Lupinus perennis L. (Fabaceae), its only known larval food plant, and on nectar plants. These plants historically occurred in savanna and barrens habitats typified by dry sandy soils, and now occur in remnants of these habitats, as well as other locations such as roadsides, military bases, and some forest lands. The primary limiting factors are loss of habitat through development, and canopy closure (succession) without a concomitant restoration of habitat. A shifting geographic mosaic that provides a balance between closed and open-canopy habitats is essential for the maintenance of large viable populations of Karner blue butterflies.

    Recovery Objectives: The objective of this recovery plan is to restore viable metapopulations of Karner blues across the species extant range so that it can be reclassified from endangered to threatened. The long-range goal is to remove it from the Federal list of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants.

    Recovery Criteria: The reclassification criteria will be met when a minimum of 27 metapopulations [19 viable metapopulations (supporting 3,000 butterflies each), and 8 large viable metapopulations (supporting 6,000 butterflies each)] are established within at least 13 recovery units across the butterfly’s range and are being managed consistent with the recovery objectives outlined in this plan. Delisting will be considered when a minimum of 29 metapopulations (13 viable and 16 large viable metapopulations) have been established within at least 13 recovery units and are being managed consistent with the plan.

    Actions Needed:

    1. Protect and manage Karner blue and its habitat to perpetuate viable metapopulations. 2. Evaluate and implement translocation where appropriate. 3. Develop rangewide and regional management guidelines. 4. Develop and implement information and education program. 5. Collect important ecological data on Karner blue and associated habitats. 6. Review and track recovery progress (includes re-evaluation of recovery goals for Wisconsin).

    Total Estimated Cost of Recovery (in $1,000’s):

    Year Need 1 Need 2 Need 3 Need 4 Need 5 Need 6 * Total

    2003 872.5 75 7 133 391 7 1,485.5

    2004 964.5 55 26 63 423 27 1,558.5

    2005 974 100 27 48 400 15 1,564

    Total 2811 230 60 244 1,214 49 4,608

    * Does not include land acquisition costs.

    Date of Recovery: Full recovery of the species is anticipated to require at least 20 years, until about 2023.

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    PART I. INTRODUCTION..................................................................................................... 1

    TAXONOMY AND DESCRIPTION................................................................................. 1 Taxonomy ..................................................................

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