"Karner blue butterfly on wild blue lupine"
New York, Wilton Wildlife Preserve and Park
This male Karner blue butterfly is resting on wild blue lupine (Lupinus perennis), their host plant. The Karner blue butterfly larvae (caterpillars) will only eat the leaves of the wild blue lupine and therefore require this plant to survive. The endangered Karner blue butterfly (Lycaeides melissa samuelis) once lived from Maine to Minnesota. They are currently found in remnant, isolated pockets of habitat in New York, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin and they are believed to be extirpated from Illinois, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Maine, Ontario, New Hampshire, and Ohio. I monitored Karner blue butterflies for an internship with The Nature Conservancy at the Wilton Wildlife Preserve and Park in upstate New York. Having the privilege of helping these butterflies survive has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. These delicate beautiful butterflies will always hold a special place in my heart.