Endangered Species
Midwest Region



Map of Region 3 Minnesota Wisconsin Michigan

Box outline
Box outline


Connect With Us

Facebook icon

Flickr icon


Twitter icon

YouTube icon


Buy Duck Stamps icon Endangered Species Day icon

Great Lake Restoration Initiative logo

Karner Blue Butterfly


Ralph Grundel

Karner blue butterfly research:

Research on habitat use patterns by Karner blue adults, lupine demography, Karner blue monitoring protocols


List of significant findings:

- There are intersexual differences in habitat use as a function of canopy cover. Males tend to use open areas, females spread their time across the canopy cover gradient.


- Females often oviposit in relatively shady areas despite lower lupine abundance there. Lupine quality may be higher in the shadier areas, at least in the second brood, compensating for lower lupine abundance.


- Karner blues tend to be opportunistic in selecting nectar plants but selected nectar plant species with yellow or white flowers over species with other-colored flowers.


- Mean Karner adult life span was < 3.5 days at Indiana Dunes, the population was protandrous and percentage of females captured at population peaks was typically < 40%.


- < 5% of individuals were observed moving > 300 m between captures over several days.


- Determinants of site occupancy by Karner blues were different from determinants of Karner abundance. Spatial trend, resource availability, matrix quality, and microclimate seemed to account for similar percentages of variation in patch use.


Work Area:



Contact Information:

U.S. Geological Survey

1100 N. Mineral Springs Road

Porter, IN 46304



219-926-8336, x 422



Publications after 2004 are available at



Grundel, R., N. B. Pavlovic, and C. L. Sulzman. 1998. The effect of canopy cover and seasonal change on host plant quality for the endangered Karner blue butterfly (Lycaeides melissa samuelis). Oecologia 114:243-250.

Grundel, R., N. B. Pavlovic, and C. L. Sulzman. 1998. Habitat use by the endangered Karner blue butterfly in oak woodlands: the influence of canopy cover. Biological Conservation 85:47-53.


Knutson, R. L., J. R. Kwilosz, and R. Grundel. 1999. Movement patterns and population characteristics of the Karner blue butterfly (Lycaeides melissa samuelis) at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. Natural Areas Journal 19:109-120.


Grundel, R., N. B. Pavlovic, and C. L. Sulzman. 2000. Nectar plant selection by the Karner blue butterfly (Lycaeides melissa samuelis) at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. American Midland Naturalist 144:1-10.


Grundel, R., and N. B. Pavlovic. 2007. Resource availability, matrix quality, microclimate, and spatial pattern as predictors of patch use by the Karner blue butterfly. Biological Conservation 135:135-144.


Pavlovic, N. B., and R. Grundel. In press. Reintroduction of Wild lupine (Lupinus perennis L.) depends on variation in canopy , competition, and litter cover. Restoration Ecology.




Last updated: July 19, 2016