Ann B. Swengel

Document Type

Peer-Review Article


At 36 sampling sites in central Wisconsin 1991-94, 358 spring larvae of the Karner blue (Lycaeides melissa samuelis) ranged from 1.9-17.0 mm in length, with only two >15.0 mm. The number of attending ants (mean 2.0, range 0-25) covaried strongly with larval size, with ants attending all larval instars. Height of wild lupine (Lupinus perennis), this butterfly's only larval food plant, correlated significantly with larval length, and larvae did not appear to hatch too soon in cool springs to have adequate forage. Larval presence and size correlated significantly with five of seven types of feeding signs on the lupines. Larval perching sites, feeding locations, and disturbance behaviors varied somewhat by instar. In 1991-93, no larvae were found in seven samplings of recently burned areas, although larvae were found in unburned sites nearby. In 1994, two larvae were found in a very patchily and incompletely burned area. Many larvae were found in areas mowed since or during the previous adult flight. Larval counts correlated positively with adult counts later in the same year. Adult surveys appeared more efficient than larval surveys, which are more effective when based on a knowledge of larval phenology, feeding signs, perching sites, feeding locations, and disturbance tolerances.

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Entomology Commons