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A Note from the
Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission
Newsletter

 

 

Q. How did the Karner Blue butterfly come to live in the Pine Bush?

A. The Karner Blue is a sub-species closely related to the Melissa Blue, a common butterfly of the Western US, that feeds on a number of plants of the pea family. Some 12,000 to 14,000 years ago, the last ice-age came to an end and the glaciers that covered the upper Midwest and Northeast in over a mile of ice melted. From 2000 to 4000 years ago the same area went through a period of warming resulting in a great eastern expansion of prairie and barrens habitats.Over the course of time--hundreds of years--the climate cooled and the eastern prairies and barrens converted to forest. Living in a different place, in relatively isolated remnant prairie and barrens habitats, separated from the center of the Melissa Blue range and feeding on only one plant of the pea family--the wild blue lupine--the Karner Blue developed different characteristics from its “parent”, the Melissa Blue.

This page last modified September 6, 2008
Contact Save the Pine Bush at pinebush@aol.com.