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.

Range information is available on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) species profile.

Please use the Service's Information for Planning and Conservation (IPaC) system ( to determine if any federally-listed, proposed, or candidate species may be present in a particular area. 

Female Karner Blue Butterfly

Lupine at Airport

Distribution in New York

By County:

Albany, Saratoga, Schenectady, Warren.



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:



National Grid Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP)


TNC Safe Harbor Agreement (SHA)

Example habitat restoration sign in New York






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. 

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

7/27/2016: USFWS announces availability of incidental take permit Environmental Action Statement(136 KB pdf) and draft Habitat Conservation Plan (7.9 MB pdf) for Karner blue butterflies from the Slack Chemical Company. More information:
Karner blue butterfly page
Federal Register Notice


FWS Endangered Species Home PageFWS Endangered Species Northeast Region

What's New in Endangered Species?


Listing & Classification


Long Island Recovery Efforts

Project Reviews

Species in New York State



Last updated: September 29, 2016
All images by FWS unless otherwise noted.