Evidence of an extreme weather‐induced phenological mismatch and a local extirpation of the endangered Karner blue butterfly

  • Patterson T
  • Grundel R
  • Dzurisin J
  • et al.
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Abstract

In 2011, an experiment was undertaken to examine spring synchrony between the endangered Karner blue butterfly (Lycaeides melissa samuelis) (Kbb) and its obligate host plant, wild blue lupine (Lupinus perennis) at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore (INDU), where the southernmost population of Kbb occurred at the time of this study. From 2012 to 2014, field-placed Kbb eggs were observed for larvae hatching in conjunction with observations of lupine emergence in oak savanna habitat. In 2012, 61% of Kbb hatched when <5% of lupine had emerged due to an extreme early spring event as compared to subsequent years where temporal overlap was >15% between Kbb and lupine. Laboratory experiments testing the sensitivity of Kbb hatching to warm temperatures during the winter of 2011-2012 confirmed that Kbb eggs were susceptible to temperature-induced hatching. In the summer of 2012, second generation Kbb larvae feeding on sun-exposed lupine had higher mortality due to the heat and drought conditions that resulted in earlier plant senescence. Following 2012, Kbb were no longer observed at INDU. This observation illustrates the pressing need for adaptive management strategies that account for extreme weather events brought on by climate change.

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Patterson, T. A., Grundel, R., Dzurisin, J. D. K., Knutson, R. L., & Hellmann, J. J. (2020). Evidence of an extreme weather‐induced phenological mismatch and a local extirpation of the endangered Karner blue butterfly. Conservation Science and Practice, 2(1). https://doi.org/10.1111/csp2.147

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