Captive rearing of Puget blue butterflies (Icaricia icarioides blackmorei) and implications for conservation

  • Published source details Schultz C.B., Dzurisin J.D. & Russell C. (2009) Captive rearing of Puget blue butterflies (Icaricia icarioides blackmorei) and implications for conservation. Journal of Insect Conservation, 13, 309-315.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Rear declining species in captivity

Action Link
Butterfly and Moth Conservation
  1. Rear declining species in captivity

    A controlled study in 2003–2006 in two captive-breeding facilities in Washington, USA (Schultz et al. 2009) found that captive-reared Puget blue butterflies Icaricia icarioides blackmorei were smaller than wild-born individuals, and caterpillars kept in refrigerators overwinter had lower survival than other treatments. There was no significant difference between the survival to adulthood of eggs collected from the wild (17/200 eggs) and eggs laid in captivity (39/548 eggs), or of caterpillars kept in environmental chambers (49/514 caterpillars) or outdoor enclosures (49/450) overwinter. However, all 308 caterpillars kept in refrigerators overwinter died. Captive-reared butterflies were smaller than wild-caught butterflies, but adult size was similar between all captive treatments (see paper for details). In June 2003, forty-eight female butterflies were collected from the wild and 39 laid 1,879 eggs in captivity. Overwinter, surviving caterpillars were kept in one of three treatments: a refrigerator, an environmental chamber with light, humidity and temperature approximating optimal rearing conditions, or an outdoor enclosure experiencing ambient conditions (see paper for housing details). In 2004, surviving caterpillars were reared on netted sickle-keeled lupine Lupinus albicaulis. In spring 2005, sixty female butterflies were collected from a second site and 51 laid 548 eggs in captivity. In addition, lupine leaves with 200 wild-laid eggs were collected and reared in captivity. All caterpillars overwintered in outdoor enclosures. In 2004–2006, captive-reared and wild-caught adults were weighed and measured.

    (Summarised by: Andrew Bladon)

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