Habitat associations of sympatric violet-feeding fritillaries (Euptoieta, Speyeria, Boloria)(Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae) in tallgrass prairie

  • Published source details Swengel A.B. (2017) Habitat associations of sympatric violet-feeding fritillaries (Euptoieta, Speyeria, Boloria)(Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae) in tallgrass prairie. The Great Lakes Entomologist, 30, 1.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Use rotational burning

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Butterfly and Moth Conservation
  1. Use rotational burning

    A replicated, site comparison study in 1988–1996 in 106 tallgrass prairies in Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, North Dakota, Minnesota and Missouri, USA (Swengel 1997) found that rotational burning, either alone or in combination with other managements, was associated with lower butterfly abundances for three of six fritillary butterfly species in at least one of the studied regions. In all regions where present, variegated fritillary Euptoieta claudia, great spangled fritillary Speyeria cybele and small pearl-bordered fritillary Boloria selene abundances were not affected by management type. Aphrodite fritillary Speyeria aphrodite abundance was lower in sites managed with burning or burning and mowing than in unmanaged and grazed sites in the Eastern Upper Midwest, but not in the Western Upper Midwest. Regal fritillary Speyeria idalia abundance was lower in sites with burning than grazing in the Upper Eastern Midwest,  in sites with burning than haying in the Western Upper Midwest and  in sites with burning or burning and haying than in sites with haying alone in southwestern Missouri.  Meadow fritillary Boloria bellona abundance was lower in sites with burning or burning and mowing than in unmanaged sites in the Eastern Upper Midwest. All other management comparisons were not significantly different or had insufficient data for comparisons. Raw data were not provided. Butterfly surveys were conducted in June–September 1988–1996 in the Eastern Upper Midwest (northern Illinois, eastern Iowa and southwestern Wisconsin), Western Upper Midwest (eastern North Dakota, western Minnesota and western Iowa) and southwestern Missouri in tallgrass prairie sites with no management (7 sites), unknown management (4 sites) or managed by rotational burning (49 sites, mostly with a 2–5 year interval), rotational haying (24 sites, mostly with a 2–3 year interval), grazing (1 site) or a combination of burning and haying (20 sites) or burning and mowing (1 site). Not all sites were surveyed for the whole period or every year. Surveys were of varying lengths and conducted simultaneously along one set of parallel transects (5–10 m apart) in each site. Not all butterflies were found in all regions.

    (Summarised by: Eleanor Bladon)

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