Study

Landscape-scale response to local habitat restoration in the regal fritillary butterfly (Speyeria idalia) (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae)

  • Published source details Shuey J., Jacquart E., Orr S., Becker F., Nyberg A., Littiken R., Anchor T. & Luchik D. (2016) Landscape-scale response to local habitat restoration in the regal fritillary butterfly (Speyeria idalia) (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae). Journal of Insect Conservation, 20, 773-780.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Restore or create habitat connectivity

Action Link
Butterfly and Moth Conservation

Restore or create grassland/savannas

Action Link
Butterfly and Moth Conservation

Use rotational burning

Action Link
Butterfly and Moth Conservation
  1. Restore or create habitat connectivity

    A study in 2014 in a restored grassland and oak barren landscape in Indiana, USA (Shuey et al. 2016) reported that regal fritillary Speyeria idalia were found across a restored, connected grassland landscape. Results were not tested for statistical significance. Eighteen years after restoration began, the abundance of regal fritillaries in the restored area peaked at 12–19 butterflies/30-minute transect, compared to 12 butterflies/transect on remnant prairies, and 0 butterflies/transect in an agricultural field. In addition, fritillaries were present in ≥17 habitat patches ≤16 km from the restoration area. Prior to restoration, authors reported that regal fritillaries were only found at three small sites in the landscape. Beginning in 1996, over 3,240 ha of agricultural land was restored to native grassland and oak barrens by planting seed mixes containing over 620 native species, to reconnect remnant grasslands and oak barrens. In addition, seeds and plugs of arrowleaf violet Viola sagittata and bird's-foot violet Viola pedata were planted as host plants. The area was managed to control invasive species and, once established, patches were burned on a three-year rotation. From May–September 2014, butterflies were surveyed every two weeks on 30-minute transects at nine sites across the landscape: five restored sites, two remnant prairies, one old field, and one site still in agricultural production. In 2014–2015, suitable habitat surrounding the restoration area was searched for regal fritillaries.

    (Summarised by: Andrew Bladon)

  2. Restore or create grassland/savannas

    A site comparison study in 2014 in a restored grassland and oak barren landscape in Indiana, USA (Shuey et al. 2016) reported that regal fritillary Speyeria idalia were found across a landscape restored by planting and rotational burning. Results were not tested for statistical significance. Eighteen years after restoration began, on four restoration sites with high plant diversity, the abundance of regal fritillaries peaked at 17 butterflies/30-minute transect, compared to 12 butterflies/transect on two remnant prairies and a low plant diversity restoration site, 19 butterflies/transect in an old field, and 0 butterflies/transect in an agricultural field. Prior to restoration, authors reported that regal fritillaries were only found at three small sites in the landscape. Beginning in 1996, over 3,240 ha of agricultural land was restored to native grassland and oak barrens by planting seed mixes containing nearly all known locally native species (>620 species). In addition, seeds (<1 ounce/year) and plugs (<1,000 plants/year) of arrowleaf violet Viola sagittata and bird’s-foot violet Viola pedata were planted as host plants. The area was managed to control invasive species and, once established, patches were burned on a three-year rotation. From May–September 2014, butterflies were surveyed every two weeks on 30-minute transects at nine sites across the landscape: four restoration sites with high plant diversity, one restoration site with low plant diversity, two remnant prairies, one old field, and one site still in agricultural production, none of which had been burned during the previous year.

    (Summarised by: Andrew Bladon)

  3. Use rotational burning

    A site comparison study in 2014 in a restored grassland and oak barren landscape in Indiana, USA (Shuey et al. 2016) reported that regal fritillary Speyeria idalia were found across a landscape restored by planting and managed by rotational burning. Results were not tested for statistical significance. Eighteen years after planting and rotational burning began, on four restoration sites with high plant diversity, the abundance of regal fritillaries peaked at 17 butterflies/30-minute transect, compared to 12 butterflies/transect on two remnant prairies and a low plant diversity restoration site, 19 butterflies/transect in an old field, and 0 butterflies/transect in an agricultural field. Prior to restoration, authors reported that regal fritillaries were only found at three small sites in the landscape. Beginning in 1996, over 3,240 ha of agricultural land was restored to native grassland and oak barrens by planting seed mixes containing over 620 native species. In addition, seeds and plugs of arrowleaf violet Viola sagittata and bird's-foot violet Viola pedata were planted as host plants. The area was managed to control invasive species and, once established, patches were burned on a three-year rotation. From May–September 2014, butterflies were surveyed every two weeks on 30-minute transects at nine sites across the landscape: four restoration sites with high plant diversity, one restoration site with low plant diversity, two remnant prairies, one old field, and one site still in agricultural production, none of which had been burned during the previous year.

    (Summarised by: Andrew Bladon)

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