New York Field Office
Northeast Region

Karner Blue Butterfly

(Lycaeides melissa samuelis)



Habitat: It is a small butterfly that lives in oak savannas and pine barren ecosystems from eastern Minnesota and eastward to the Atlantic seaboard.

Main Threats: Habitat loss or modification, habitat succession, invasive plants, weather events. See details in this Threats Table.

Species Range:  Historically, it was found in a continuous band throughout its range but today it is found in portions of New Hampshire, New York, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, and Minnesota.

Female Karner Blue Butterfly

Lupine at Airport

Distribution in New York

By County:

Albany, Saratoga, Schenectady, Warren.

See Federally Listed Species Occurrences by County [PDF].



Recovery Plan (PDF, 2.4 MB)

3/24/11 Karner Blue Butterfly Recovery Plan Update:

The USFWS has updated the Karner Blue Buttterfly Recovery Plan (2003). The update involves the addition of the Michigan Oak Openning Potential Recovery Unit (PRU) in southeast Michigan. A KBB reintroduction project is underway at Petersburg State Game Area in this PRU.

More information is available here:

The USFWS has issued the first incidental take permit (ITP) for Karner blue butterflies in New York State to National Grid.

See the National Grid HCP News Release

NEW: National Grid HCP incl. appendices B&H (1 MB pdf)

Implementing Agreement (13 MB pdf)

Final Environmental Assessment (pdf)

Finding of No Significant Impact (pdf)

Karner blue butterfly agreement signed!

TNC Safe Harbor Agreement (SHA)

Habitat Restoration/Management

Habitat restoration and management is ongoing at multiple sites in New York.  Actions may include tree removal, invasive species removal, mowing, careful herbicide application, prescribed burning, and planting of lupine, nectar plants, and grasses. 

Example habitat restoration sign in New York

Examples of Actions that May Affect This Species

Residential or commercial development; herbicide or pesticide application; construction, operations and maintenance of transmission lines, roads and railways

Protocols/Best Management Practices

What to Do if this Species Occurs on your Property or Project Site

Follow instructions on our Project Reviews page.

Additional Information


FWS Endangered Species Home PageFWS Endangered Species Northeast Region

Endangered Species


Listing & Classification


Long Island Recovery Efforts

Project Reviews

Species in New York State



Last updated: December 19, 2014
All images by FWS unless otherwise noted.