Individual study: Restored wetland praire areas provide more resources than unrestored areas for the great copper Lycaena xanthoides in the Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA
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
The great copper Lycaena xanthoides is restricted in Western Orgeon to seasonally flooded prairie wetland areas with small mounds remaining dry throughout the year. This study monitored the butterfly’s behaviour and survival at two sites with restored wetland prairie vegetation, in the Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA.
The study was carried out at three sites with small populations of the great copper, 1.5 km apart. Two sites - Tsal-uk-wah and Pacific – had areas planted with native wetland prairie plants in the late 1990s.
Cover by grasses, herbaceous plants, bare ground (used for basking) and the nectar plant Puget Sound gumweed Grindelia integrifolia, was measured in five 5 m2 quadrats, in 50 x 20 m plots within and just outside the restored areas. The larval food plant willow dock Rumex salicifolius was too sparsely distributed to be counted in the quadrats.
Restored plots had significantly higher bare ground cover (average 16 and 34% at Tsal-uk-wah and Pacific respectively) and G. integrifolia cover (average 55 and 21%) than adjacent unrestored areas (<0.2% cover of bare ground and G. integrifolia at both sites).