NABOKV-L post 0026320, Mon, 27 Jul 2015 07:34:36 -0400

discovered by Russian author Vladimir Nabokov ...

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Endangered butterfly recovering in some, not all, of range
Originally published July 26, 2015 at 10:16 am Updated July 26, 2015 at 11:04 am

1 of 6 In this Friday, July 10, 2015 photo, a Karner Blue butterfly is seen after it was released at the Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission in Albany, N.Y. More than two decades of habitat restoration and... (AP Photo/Mike Groll) More

The Associated Press
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — More than 20 years of habitat restoration and breeding programs have helped the endangered Karner blue butterfly make a comeback in the pine barrens of upstate New York where it was discovered by Russian author Vladimir Nabokov decades ago.

“This project has been unbelievably rewarding,” said Neil Gifford, conservation director for the 3,200-acre Albany Pine Bush Preserve. “Getting to see an animal that was on the brink of extinction locally, now have a robust and healthy population, is just incredible.”

( … )

The Karner blue is still found in the Pine Bush just west of Albany where it was discovered by Nabokov in the 1940s. The author of “Lolita” was also a notable butterfly expert who played a key role in establishing the relationship between the Karner blue and its dwindling pine barrens habitat. His research was at the heart of the discussion of habitat and restoration provisions of the Endangered Species Act passed by Congress in 1973.

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At Indiana Dunes, habitat restoration hasn’t been enough to save the Karner blue. When he started working there 20 years ago, Grundel said there were 5,000 to 10,000 Karner blues. Only two were found in 2014 and none this year. An unusually warm spring and dry summer in 2012 are one explanation, as lupine growth cycles were out of sync with Karner blue larvae hatching. But the numbers were plummeting before then.

“People are concerned,” Grundel said. “There’s a recognition that we need to do more research to better pinpoint the causes for the decline.”


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