Karner Blue Butterfly


Karner Blue Butterfly

  • The size of a nickel.
  • Live in habitats called oak barrens or savannas.
  • Female butterflies lay their eggs only on or near lupine plants.

The Need for Management

Karner blues and other rare plant life are found in habitats called oak barrens. This habitat is one of the rarest natural systems in the world. In the past, periodic fires would renew the habitat by killing trees and shrubs that shade out the plants beneath. However, implementation of fire suppression techniques cause the habitat to decline.

Management Results

Since the Karner blue butterfly lives for only a few days, tracking the exact population is difficult. The Michigan DNR relies on eyewitness sightings to get a general idea of the butterfly’s numbers. Sightings have increased steadily since maintaining the Karner blue’s habitat and increasing the amount of lupine plants have become priorities. In 2018, there were just under 100 sightings of the rare butterfly.

Management Activities

Karner blue butterfly sightings are increasing each year thanks to:

  • Reintroduction of fire to help maintain the remaining oak barren habitats.
  • Encouraging individuals to limit or avoid use of pesticides in the Karner blue’s environment.
  • Reducing the amount of “accidental” deaths.
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