The Karner blue butterflies are found in open, oak savannas and pine barrens where wild Lupine (Lupinus perennis) is in abundance. Barren habitats are described as having sandy soil populated by grasses, low shrubs, small trees and scattered larger trees. Savannas in the Midwest describe an area of transition from the western prairies into the deciduous forests in the east (Ferge 2001). As such, the common plant types represent a continuum from prairie to forest. Wildfires are common in savannas as a way to renew the plants and soil (Nice 2009).


       Karner blue butterflies can only survive where Lupinus perennis grows. This is because the Karner blue caterpillar feeds exclusively on these wild lupine leaves. This plant is widespread in the sands of Northwest and central Wisconsin.(Lycaeides melissa samuelis 2010).


Lycaeides melissa samuelis locations in Wisconsin

Blue indicates- sightings

Green indicates-documented photos

Bullet points indicate- historical record

        Historically this species once spanned from Ontario Canada all the way through the Midwest and up to Maine. Currently, isolated colonies have been reported in Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York and Wisconsin. The largest populations exist in Wisconsin and Michigan (Lycaeides melissa samuelis 2010). Reintroduction efforts are currently underway in Ohio, Indiana and New Hampshire (Nice 2009).

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