Karner Blue Butterfly
( Lycaeides melissa samuelis)
Photo by Paul Labus; The Nature Conservancy (Indiana).
Status: Endangered, listed December 14, 1992
Habitat: Pine barrens and oak savannas on sandy soils and containing wild lupines ( Lupinus perennis), the only known food plant of larvae.
Lead Region: 3
Region 3 Lead Office: Green Bay, Wisconsin Field Office
Range: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota (possibly extirpated), New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Wisconsin
blue butterfly, an endangered species, is a small butterfly that lives in
savannas and pine barren ecosystems from eastern Minnesota and eastward to the Atlantic seaboard. Historically, it was found in a continuous band throughout its range but today is found in portions
of New Hampshire, New York, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, and Minnesota.
The wild blue lupine ( Lupinus perennis) is the only food plant for the Karner caterpillar. But the range of Karners and lupine do not completely overlap. Instead, Karners are found along the northern band of lupine range. Follow the links below for more information about the Karner blue butterfly life history and what is being done to save this endangered species.
Karner Blue Butterfly Final Recovery Plan
Karner Blue Butterfly 5-Year Review (129-page PDF ; 1MB) September 2012
Recovery Plan Update (February 25, 2011)
Final Recovery Plan (September 2003)
Federal Register Notice of Availability -
Approved Recovery Plan for the Karner Blue Butterfly - September 19, 2003 (PDF (Lycaeides melissa samuelis )
Karner Blue Butterfly Natural History and Regulatory Information:
USFWS Fact Sheet I
USFWS Fact Sheet II
USFWS Species Profile
Wild blue lupine is the sole food for the Karner blue caterpillar.
Photo by USFWS; Joel Trick
Listen to a podcast!
Find out about the karner blue butterfly from field biologist Cathy Carnes.
Cathy has helped recover Karner blues since 1992.
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Karner Blue Butterfly Research, Monitoring and Management
Propagation Handbook for the Karner Blue Butterfly (Nov. 2010)
A Guide to the Use of Distance Sampling to Estimate Abundance of Karner blue butterflies
High Potential Range in Wisconsin
High Potential Range Map in Wisconsin (PDF)
Karner Blue Butterfly Threats Summary Table (PDF )
Safe Harbor Agreement
Enhancement of Survival Permit and Safe Harbor Agreement: Restoration Activities for the Karner Blue Butterfly in the West Gary,
Indiana Recovery Unit (June 2006)
Habitat Conservation Plans
Northern Indiana Public Service Company (March 6, 2006)
State-wide Karner Blue Butterfly HCP
(July 2010) Renewal of Wisconsin Statewide Karner Blue Butterfly HCP
The Karner Blue Butterfly Habitat Conservation Plan Fact Sheet
Questions and Answers about the Karner Blue Butterfly Habitat Conservation Plan
Wisconsin's Karner Blue Butterfly Habitat Conservation Plan
Articles About Karner Blue Butterflies:
Butterflies Benefit from Statewide HCP (July 2000)
The Karner blue butterfly: an article about the species and its ecosystem (April 1997)
The Beauty and Benefits of Savannas: Necedah National Wildlife Refuge - learn about management for the Karner blue butterfly's ecosystem (April 1997)
Of Wings and Warriors: management for the Karner blue butterfly on Fort McCoy in Wisconsin (January 1997)
Wild lupine and Karner blue butterflies: an article about the Karner blue's relationship with wild lupine (November 1996)
Midwest Endangered Species Home