Kwesting for Karners May 28, 2007
Like my friend Elmer Fudd would say, "Where was that wascally butterfwy?" None were found in the Oak Opening regions yesterday, although many other species of butterfly, dragons, birds and botany of all sorts and manner were noted. I guess if they were easy to find, they wouldn't be on the endangered list, would they?
One thing that was seen in fair abundance was the host plants for the Karner Blue butterfly, although this was not always the case. To understand the decline, exterpation and re-introduction of the Karner Blue butterfly, one must understand the Wild Lupine, Lupinus perennis. The host plant for the Karner Blue, Wild Lupine has an interesting story of its own. Growing on the sand dunes and oak barrens in the Oak Openings and Kitty Todd regions of Toledo, lupines require sand and sun, two things you might not associate with Ohio. However, there are dune remnants in the "Oaks" regions and they were sunny, as long as there were fires to keep the undergrowth in check under the massive fire-resistant Oaks.
Man, or Homo- the homogenizer (as Wes Jackson calls him), planted pines on these barrens and suppressed fires. The end result was shaded areas where lupines could not subsist. The decline of the lupines marked the decline of the Karner Blue. Now that we understand this relationship, areas have been re-opened with fire and the Lupine has rebounded. The Karner Blue butterfly has been re-introduced into Kitty Todd and is scheduled to be introduced into the Oak Openings this summer. Thanks to my friends Karen Menard and Steve Smith for the grand butterfly and botany tour of yesterday. You will be seeing photos from the "Oaks" in the next several blogs.