Conserving a wetland butterfly: quantifying early lifestage survival through seasonal flooding, adult nectar, and habitat preference

  • Published source details Severns P.M., Boldt L. & Villegas S. (2006) Conserving a wetland butterfly: quantifying early lifestage survival through seasonal flooding, adult nectar, and habitat preference. Journal of Insect Conservation, 10, 361-370.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Restore or create wetlands and floodplains

Action Link
Butterfly and Moth Conservation
  1. Restore or create wetlands and floodplains

    A site comparison study in 2004–2005 in three wetland prairies in Oregon, USA (Severns et al. 2006, same experimental set up as 3) found that restored wetland prairies were used by adult great copper Lycaena xanthoides more than degraded prairies, but egg survival was lower in restored areas. In two restored wetlands, the proportion of marked butterflies which were recaptured in the area (26 out of 32 butterflies) was higher than at an unrestored site (3 out of 16 butterflies). However, the survival of eggs to large caterpillars in restored, flooded sites (2 out of 84 eggs) was lower than in unrestored, unflooded sites (7 out of 46 eggs). In the late 1990s, two wetland prairies (16–26 ha) were partially restored by planting a wetland prairie vernal pool native seed mix, and flooded annually. Unrestored parts of both sites, and a third, 76-ha, unrestored site, remained dominated by non-native grasses and did not flood. From late summer 2004–June 2005, eggs on 24 willow dock Rumex salicifolius plants in either restored, flooded areas or unrestored, unflooded areas, were revisited monthly to record survival to large caterpillars. From July–August 2005, every 3–4 days, butterflies were caught, marked, released and recaptured in a 1–2.9 ha area with a high density of willow dock at each site.

    (Summarised by: Andrew Bladon)

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