Butterfly sighting!

Posted by Karen in Work.
Wednesday, August 9th, 2006 at 9:33 pm

Behold, the regal fritillary, in all its glory! We spotted this beauty today at one of our plots. They are a species of special interest to the US Fish and Wildlife Service (do you know anything more about this Rick?), and considered endangered by some states. They are only found in tall grass prairies, as the caterpillars only eat violets, particularly prairie violets.

It was another challenging day today, but made infinitely better by this sighting, and my first sighting of a Melissa blue butterfly. In addition to being a plant ecologist, Lane is also a butterfly ecologist, so I was really fortunate to have her there to tell me how rare it is to see a regal fritillary. It was actually her first time seeing one, so she was really excited too.

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2 Responses to “Butterfly sighting!”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    You sure are having some great experiences with this job. I bet it will be hard to come back to real life and the one you left behind–especially the cute white suits you have to wear when you spray

  2. Rick Says:

    K – Way cool! A few years back I wrote a report on tallgrass prairies that used the regal fritillary as one of the key indicators. There is some text on p. 9 about it’s needs. Many refuges are trying to restore floristically diverse tallgrass (and other) prairie types, to benefit declining birds, rare butterflies, and for the plant community itself, which is very rare. It’s great that you got to see the fritillary, and that you are getting this field experience.