Stop by the Save the Pine Bush Table at Albany Lupine Festival, Saturday 10-4 PM. Details: albanylupinefest.org/

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

 

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.