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Savanick, M.A. 2005. Population dynamics and nectar preference of the Karner blue butterfly Lycaeides melissa samuelis (Nabokov) [Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae]. M.S. Thesis, University of Minnesota. 109 pp.


We researched population dynamics and suitable habitat of the endangered Karner blue butterfly, Lycaeides melissa samuelis. We analyzed six years of population and weather data from Ft. McCoy, Wisconsin and using autocorrelation functions we found two population dynamic patterns: a long term trend and an alternating generational cycle. To determine adult floral preference, we calculated a visitation rate for each visited flower species that incorporated the number of feeding visits and flower species abundance. Summer flight Karner blue butterflies had high visitation rates to the following five species: Asclepias tuberosa, Amorpha canescens, Asclepias verticillata, Helianthus occidentalis, and Monarda punctata, indicating preference. Spring flight males displayed a within-site floral species preference and three species may be preferred. We also found evidence that Lupinus perennis, the larval host plant, may not be an important nectar plant.

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