Kansas State University
205 Leasure Hall
Manhattan, KS 66506-3501
Phone: (785)532-6070
Fax: (785)532-7159
kscfwru@ksu.edu

Homepage

About the Unit
Cooperators
Mission Statement
History
Unit News
Courses
Publications

Facilities

People
Faculty and Staff
Graduate Students

Research
Current Projects
Completed Projects
Technical Assistance
Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU)

Resources and Employment
Graduate School
Graduate Applications

Forms and Manuals
Assistantships and Positions
Careers

A multi scale examination of the distribution and habitat use patterns of the Regal fritillary (Speyeria idalia) within the Fort Riley Military Reservation

Investigator:
Kelsey McCullough, Undergraduate Student
Dr. Gene Albanese, Post-Doctoral Research Associate

Project Supervisor:
Dr. David Haukos

Funding:
Department of Defense

Cooperators:
Shawn Stratten, Department of Defense
Konza Praire Biological Station

Location:
Fort Riley Military Reservation
Konza Prairie Biological Station

Completion:
May 2015

Status: Pilot Project 2014


Regal Fritillary (Speyeria idalia)

Objectives:
Provide spatially explicit estimates of the current distribution and relative abundance patterns of the Regal Fritillary and its host plant, prairie violet at the FRMR and KPBS

Provide baseline population estimates of the Regal Fritillary within the FRMR

Provide models that identify habitat features and management practices influence the occurrence of late instar larvae among discrete clusters of Prairie violet within the FRMR and KPBS.

Provide models that identify habitat features and management practices that influence the density of adult Regal fritillary within the FRMR and KPBS.

Produce information products on the effectiveness of current and potential management strategies for the conservation of regal fritillary populations within the FRMR and KPBS.

Progress and Results:
The Regal fritillary was once an abundant butterfly species of the prairie biome with a range that extended from the Canadian border to Oklahoma and east to the Atlantic coast. Populations have declined approximately 99% in the prairie region and it is nearly extirpated from the eastern portion of its former range. However, populations within northeastern Kansas remain relatively abundant and are considered stable. The Regal fritillary is univoltine with adults flying in Kansas from June to mid-September. Larvae hatch in fall, enter larval diapause and then emerge in spring to begin feeding. The larval host plants of Regal fritillary are all violets (Viola spp.), with Kansas populations feeding on Prairie violet (V. pedatifoda). Prairie violet is a small (<8 cm), perennial plant characteristic of native tallgrass communities within Kansas. Causes of Regal fritillary decline remain largely undetermined but like many oligophagous butterflies associated with native plant communities, the decline of this species appears to be the result of habitat loss and the subsequent breakdown of metapopulation dynamics. The large tracts of native tallgrass prairie at the Fort Riley Military Reserve (FRMR) and Konza Prairie Biological Station (KPBS) offer a unique research opportunity to examine the habitat-use patterns and metapopulation dynamics of a stable population of this imperiled species. The objectives of the research are to (1) provide spatially explicit estimates of the current distribution and relative abundance patterns of the Regal fritillary and its host plant, prairie violet at the FRMR and KPBS; (2) Provide baseline population estimates of the Regal fritillary within the FRMR; (3) provide models that identify habitat features and management practices that influence the density of adult Regal fritillary within the FRMR; (4) provide models that identify habitat features and management practices that influence the occurrence of late instar larvae among discrete clusters of prairie violet within the FRMR and KPBS ; and (5) produce information products on the effectiveness of current and potential management strategies for the conservation of Regal fritillary populations within the FRMR. Using GIS and distribution modeling, we produced a predictive distribution map of Prairie violet within our study area and inferred on the importance of the environmental variables that contributed to the model. These results will be evaluated and improved with field validations of prediction areas. Further, these model predictions will be used to locate Regal fritillary larvae among host plant clusters to examine microhabitat conditions suitable for larval development. Additionally, we will use repeated-modified Pollard walks to survey adult Regal fritillaries and estimate adult abundance and detectability.

Products since 2012: