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Document Type

Peer-Review Article

Abstract

Lycaeides melissa samuelis Nabokov, frequently called the Karner blue butterfly, is a Federally endangered species found in savanna/barren type ecosystems of New England and the Great Lakes region of North America. We observed sporadic and localized feeding aggregations of Lytta sayi LeConte (Coleoptera: Meloidae) on Lupinus perennis L. (Fabaceae) occupied by L. m. samuelis during the summers of 2000-2004, in Eau Claire County, Wisconsin. In 2004, we quantified the phenology and behavior of an aggregation (> 900 beetles) within a 1,020 m2 stand of lupine and measured its effect upon adult L. m. samuelis behavior. The L. sayi aggregation formed and dispersed within 11 days with three beetles observed on day one and a maximum of 951 beetles on day seven. By the eighth day of the aggregation, the beetles had consumed 100% of the lupine flowers, 2% of lupine seeds and no lupine leaves. In comparisons of L. m. samuelis activity before and during the beetle aggregation, L. m. samuelis males spent significantly less time perching on Potentilla simplex Michaux (Rosaceae) and more time flying during the beetle aggregation. L. m. samuelis females spent significantly less time under lupine leaves during the beetle aggregation. Distribution of L. m. samuelis larval feeding damage suggests adult females avoided ovipositing in areas containing large numbers of beetles.

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