Ann B. Swengel

Document Type

Peer-Review Article


In surveys conducted during 1988-95, 164 individuals of the frosted elfin (Incisalia irus) were found, 139 of them during formal transects that totaled 92.9 hr and 179.4 km of survey effort during the frosted elfin flight period. Individuals were observed between 10 May and 14 June, with maximum . t spans in a single year of 27-31 days. Peak flight occurred just before or e beginning of peak flowering of the larval host, wild lupine (Lupinus perennis), and the first spring adults of Karner blue (Lycaeides melissa samuelis), also monophagous as larvae on wild lupine. Fourteen individuals exhibited oviposition behavior on young stalks of green lupine flower buds. 94% of individuals occurred in savannas, nearly evenly split between open (10-24% canopy) and closed (25-49% canopy) ones. Relative lupine abundance at both the microsite and landscape scales appeared more important as a habitat factor than actual size of the particular lupine patch occupied. Both long-term lack of site management and too frequent/intense management (forestry, rotational fire) appeared unfavorable. Recreational trailsides, areas burned by wildfire >4 years ago, and rights-of-way mowed annually or less often were favorable habitat. All frosted elfin sites also supported Karner blues, but within these sites, correlation of frosted elfin abundance with that of Karner blues was rather weak, indicating a fair degree of niche segregation between these two species.

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