Gossamer Tapestry

Reflections on conservation, butterflies, and ecology in the nation's heartland

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Butterfly Restoration in Oak Openings

Kitty Todd Preserve outside of Toledo, Ohio

The Imperiled Butterfly Conservation and Management Workshop has been going very well. Our attendees come from all over the US and Canada, and have a variety of backgrounds and interests. We're hearing a lot about the research activities of the Toledo Zoo, the institution hosting this segment of the workshop. They are working with two endangered species: the Karner Blue and Mitchell's Satyr. Today we visited a number of Karner Blue release sites, and even got to release some butterflies.

Me releasing a Karner

Recently released Karner Blue
Note the red marking dot that identifies this as a lab-raised butterfly

Kitty Todd is part of the oak openings ecosystem. It's similar to the dune and swale ecosystem of northwest Indiana, and has a similar geological history. Both ecosystems are home to Karner blues, however the vegetation is very different. Many unusual plants and animals can be found here.

We saw acres of this milkwort (Polygala sp.)

Edwards Hairstreak (Satyrium edwardsi), a species of special concern in Ohio,
is found in Oak Openings Park near Kitty Todd

Cicindela lepida habitat

One of the sites that we visited today, Oak Openings Park, still contains an active sand dune, even though it's miles from Lake Erie. I immediately thought of tiger beetles when I was it, and wasn't disappointed. The Ghost Tiger Beetle (Cicindela lepida) is a new species to me. I got photos, but I was happier with them on my camera screen that I was when I got them moved onto my computer. Still, a very nice beetle.

Ghost Tiger Beetle (Cicindela lepida)

After lunch, the group participated in more Karner Blue releases. So far, it has been an interesting and enjoyable workshop. I feel like I'm making contributions to the teaching part of this (I'm definitely holding my own on plant identification), I'm seeing new things and I'm making some great new connections.

Brian and Steve release a Karner

Tomorrow, we head up to Michigan. With luck, I'll get my first ever look at an endangered species caled Mitchell's Satyr. I can't wait.

This female Karner Blue was not raised in the laboratory

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At 23:06, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great tiger photos, but (ahem) your genders don't agree.

I'll never forget the first time I found C. lepida - I was looking for C. formosa and thought I saw something move. I didn't see anything but looked closer and all of a sudden there it was. After that initial excitement and capture, I realized that they were all around me!


At 04:33, Blogger Marvin said...

Butterflies and tiger beetles too -- sounds like a great day.

At 23:25, Blogger Ur-spo said...

good luck in Michigan!

At 07:54, Blogger R.Powers said...

Those are a really pretty bfly. These bfly restoration programs are unsung heroes!
We don't hear much about them, but thank goodness they are happening.
Got a cicada post up you might appreciate.

At 19:49, Blogger Dave Coulter said...

Well done. Yesterday I was helping the POC folks up by IBSP and saw some cool stuff there too, believe me.

At 10:50, Blogger Ur-spo said...

when you come visit, do tell us what is the name of the butterfly that seems to be lurking around our house - it is gray and has a bright red 'edge' to its wings. like someone outlined it with a highlighter.

At 20:01, Blogger Doug Taron said...

Ted- Gulp. It took me a minute to figure out what meant. I have noticed before that I'm less likely to proofread captions than text. Fixed.

Marvin- It was. The whole conference was a blast.

Spo- Thanks. The Michigan post is up, and you'll see that we did have good luck in Michigan.

FC- Thank you. Some of this work is going on very close to you, at UF. In October I'll be in Gainesville at the second installation of this workshop. Perhaps we can get together.

Dave- I believe you. IBSP is one of my favorite places for butterfly (and other biota) viewing.

Spo- see if you can take a photo of it. Looking forward to seeing you and D.


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