There are over 1,200 species on the Endangered Species List. In Wisconsin, the Gray wolf gets a lot of publicity, having been listed and then delisted quite a few times in recent years. But the tiny and delicate Karner Blue butterfly has been listed since 1992. The species have all but disappeared in New England, and most population clusters in the Upper Midwest have been shrinking or gone. The largest numbers of Karner blues reside right here in Wisconsin. Even though the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service handles the Karner blue recovery effort nationally, the Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources (DNR) coordinates the recovery here in Wisconsin. So, in this episode of the Perpetual Notion Machine, reporter Dennis Shaffer talks with Chelsea Gunther, the DNR’s Karner Blue Butterfly Recovery Coordinator. She indicates that the Karner blue is an important keystone species for as many as 50 other species, and the necessity of saving and restoring its natural habitat of oak savannas, pine barrens, and prairie, particularly for the Wild blue lupine, the only source of food for the Karner blue larvae or caterpillar.
In the photos below: the first gives you an idea on the size of the butterfly and the second is the Wild blue lupine.