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Scientific Name: Plebejus icarioides blackmorei (Barnes & McDunnough, 1919) Common Name


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SPECIES FACT SHEET
Scientific Name: Plebejus icarioides blackmorei (Barnes & McDunnough, 1919)

Common Name: Puget Blue, Blackmore’s Blue

Phylum: Mandibulata

Class: Insecta

Order: Lepidoptera

Family: Lycaenidae

Subfamily: Polyommatinae


Taxonomic Note:

1. Icaricia is used as the genus name for this taxon by some authors (Pyle 2002, Guppy & Shepard 2001). The most recent taxonomic treatment considers this genus to be Plebejus (Pelham 2008).

2. Future taxonomic work may determine the Puget Trough prairie populations of this subspecies to be different than the montane populations occurring on the Olympic Mountains and Vancouver Island (Pyle 2002, Miskelly 2010, pers. comm.). Since the blackmorei subspecies was first described from Vancouver Island, such a division would retain the montane populations as blackmorei, and the Puget Prairie butterflies would need to be renamed (Miskelly 2010, pers. comm.). A revision of this genus is currently in progress by Paul Opler et al. (Pyle 2011, pers. comm.).
Conservation Status:

Global Status (2006): G5T3 – Vulnerable

National Statuses:  United States (N1N3), Canada (N3)

State/Province Statuses: Washington (S2), British Columbia (S3)

(NatureServe 2011).

This species is of Special Concern (blue-listed) in British Columbia, and a State Candidate for Endangered listing in Washington (Pyle 2002, Schultz et al. 2011).



Technical Description:

Adult: This small butterfly is a member of the Lycaenidae family and Polyommatinae subfamily, the latter of which is commonly known as the blues. As the name suggests, these butterflies are characterized by their blue wing coloration, especially in the males. Females are typically gray or brown with blue highlights. Many species of blues exhibit orange crescents (aurorae) and shiny metallic rings (scintillae) along some of the dorsal and/or ventral wing edges, although both of these features are lacking in this species (Pyle 2002).


With a wing span of 2.9 to 3.5 cm (1 1/8 to 1 3/8 in.), Plebejus icarioides is the largest species of blue (Polyommatinae) in North America (Scott 1986, Opler et al. 2011). Dorsally, the male wings are sky blue with a wide, dark border and white fringe (Pyle 2002). The blue color is somewhat washed out (not clear) (Guppy & Shepard 2001). The female dorsal wings are grey-brown with a dark border and white fringe, and blue scaling concentrated near the wing bases (Pyle 2002, Guppy & Shepard 2001). Ventrally, the male wings are brown, heavily overlaid with white scales, and the female wings are pale brown in ventral ground color (Guppy & Shepard 2001). Pyle (2002) describes the ventral surface of both sexes as pearly gray wearing to dirty chalk. The spotting pattern on the ventral wings is unique: the ventral forewing postmedian spots are large, mostly black with white rings, while the ventral hindwing spots are smaller and all-white to mostly white with small black pupils (Pyle 2002). This species lacks the orange crescents seen in many blues, but does have rudimentary ventral submarginal crescent spots (rarely with a touch of rust) (Pyle 2002). A mostly white bar is present in the ventral hindwing cell (Pyle 2002).

The blackmorei subspecies is distinctively large, silvery, and broad-margined, with the ventral spotting much-reduced or absent (Pyle 2002). Guppy & Shepard distinguish the blackmorei subspecies on Vancouver Island based on the female ventral hindwing having a median row of white spots without black centers seen in other subspecies, and the large size of the white-ringed black spots in the median row of the female ventral forewing (much larger than seen in other subspecies) (Guppy & Shepard 2001). Pyle (2002) notes that individuals from montane populations of this subspecies are smaller and paler than those from nearby lowland populations.


On the Olympic Peninsula, the Puget blue (blackmorei subspecies) could be confused with the Silvery Blue (Glaucopsyche lygdamus), which is very similar dorsally but differs in the ventral spot patterns: in G. lygdamus the ventral spots are mostly black with a white ring on both wings, whereas in P. i. blackmorei, the forewing spots are mostly black with a white ring, and the hindwing spots are mostly white, sometimes with a black pupil (Neill 2007, Pyle 2002). Additionally, G. lygdamus is entirely lacking in ventral marginal and submarginal markings, whereas P. i. blackmorei always has at least some submarginal crescent spots, even if rudimentary (Pyle 2002). The Puget Blue also overlaps in range with the Arctic Blue (Plebejus glandon), Lupine Blue (P. lupini), Greenish Blue (P. saepiolus), and Anna’s Blue (P. anna), each of which can be readily distinguished by differences in wing pattern (see Pyle 2002). The wings in this species lack the prominent spot-pairs present in the Greenish Blue (P. saepiolus), and also lack the orange aurorae (crescents) found in many blues (Pyle 2002).

Immature: The eggs of this species are pale greenish white with a compressed sphere shape (James & Nunnallee 2011). The egg surface is covered with intersecting ridges forming numerous rounded white polygons, or “nipples” (James & Nunnallee 2011, Pyle 2002). There are four larval instars in this species, the first of which is pale green with small dark green spots supporting long pale setae (~20 per segment), and a black head. The second larval instar is pale yellowish green with prominent black speckling and numerous yellowish setae. An indistinct green stripe with pale yellow edging can be seen on the dorsal surface. Prior to diapause, this instar shrinks and darkens, becoming purplish brown. The post-diapause third instar remains purplish brown, or is forest green with a pale purplish dorsal stripe, indistinctly bordered with white. A pale lavender band encircles the base of the body, bordered with white below. Black speckling remains and the setae are numerous and short. Laterally, each segment has two indistinct pale diagonal stripes. This pattern extends to the fourth larval instar, with the middorsal purple stripe becoming more distinct, and some larvae becoming more solidly green. A contrasting white or pale yellow ventrolateral stripe is present. The pupal stage is ovoid, bright cinnamon brown on the abdomen, and dull green on the head, thorax, and wing case. The larvae are similar to several other species of Plebejus, including P. idas, P. saepiolus, P. melissa, P. lupini, and P. anna. The larvae of some Satyrium hairstreaks are also similar. Close attention to host plant, timing, and larval patterns will aid in identification (James & Nunnallee 2011). Photographs of the egg, pupa, and each larval instar are provided in James and Nunnallee (2011, page 219).
Life History:

This species is univoltine, with one generation per year. The flight period is relatively long; about 30 days at a given locality depending on elevation and moisture (Guppy & Shepard 2001, Pyle 2002). At low elevation prairies sites, the Puget Blue flight period is from late May through late June (Hays et al. 2000). At higher sites in the Olympic Mountains, known records are from June 16th to August 28th (Yake 2005, Potter 2011, pers. comm.). For the species as a whole, adult flight is reported to be fairly local; males fly an average of 27 m (89 ft.), and females an average of 32 m (105 ft.) over their ~8 day lifespan (Scott 1986). During adult behavior studies of P. i. blackmorei at a Puget Sound prairie site, males were regularly observed to enter and fly across 20 m x 20 m plots, and continue at least another 20 m over the prairie before they were lost from sight (LaBar 2012, pers. comm.). Some butterflies flew rapidly across the prairie, and no males but some females stayed in the plots during the half-hour observation periods (LaBar 2012, pers. comm.).


In this species, adults of both sexes feed on mud and occasionally nectar on a variety of flowers, including lupines (Lupinus spp.), thistles, asters, Olympic onion (Allium crenulatum), and buckwheat (Erigonum spp.) (Scott 1986, James & Nunnallee 2011, Opler et al. 2011, Pyle 2002). Hays et al. (2000) examined nectaring preferences of the blackmorei subspecies at two lowland Puget prairie sites, recording hundreds of nectaring observations over two sampling years. At both sites, this butterfly nectared most frequently on unopened flowerheads of Sickle-keeled lupine (Lupinus albicaulis), possibly feeding on aphid honeydew (Hays et al. 2000). To a lesser extent, preference was exhibited for Marah oreganus (a rare, native manroot) early in the season (late May to early June), and frequent nectaring was also observed on Potentilla gracilus (graceful cinquefoil). Occasional nectaring was observed on Vicia sativa, Lomatium triternatum, Trifolium repens, Eriophyllum lanatum, Symphoricarpos albus, and S. mollis (Hays et al. 2000). Active avoidance of the flowers of Scotch Broom (Cytisus scoparius), Barestem teesdalia (Teesdalia nudicale), and a number of other species was exhibited (Hays et al. 2000). At montane sites in the Olympic Mountains, the blackmorei subspecies has been opportunistically observed nectaring on pearly everlasting, white heather, and fleabane (Yake 2005, Yake 2011, pers. comm.).
Males patrol during the day near host plants for females (Scott 1986), and are often seen in large congregations puddling on mud (James & Nunnallee 2011). Mating of P. i. blackmorei adults has been observed on August 8th at montane sites in the Olympic Mountains (Yake 2011, pers. comm.). Females oviposit on lupines, the larval food plant. Oviposition has been observed between June 3rd and June 19th at prairie sites for this subspecies on the Olympic Peninsula (Hays et al. 2000). In this study, all 18 acts of oviposition were on the underside of lower leaves of Sickle-keeled lupine (Lupinus albicaulis), within 15 cm (6 in.) of the ground (Hays et al. 2000). For the species as a whole, Scott (1986) reports that eggs are laid singly on leaves, stems, flowers, and pods of the host plant, with a preference for new growth. In rearing experiments, female P. icarioides were found to lay between ~150 to 200 eggs which hatched after 5 to 9 days (temperature dependant) and reached the second larval instar after 14 days (James & Nunnallee 2011). In a California subspecies, the eggs have been reported to take 10 days to hatch (Guppy & Shepard 2001).
Larvae of P. icarioides are completely dependant on lupines, using around 40 different lupine species in the West, but generally only one species per locality (Pyle 2002). If more than one lupine species is present at a site, larvae usually prefer the hairiest species (Pyle 2002, Scott 1986). In Cascadia, L. albicaulis, L. latifolius, L. lepidus, L. laxiflorus, L. sericeus, L. sericeus, and L. sulphureus have been recorded (Pyle 2002, Hays et al. 2000). With regard to the blackmorei subspecies, L. latifolius (arctic lupine) is a known host plant for this subspecies on Vancouver Island and at higher elevation populations in Washington, while lower elevation Washington sites are known to use L. albicaulis (Sickle-keeled lupine) (Pyle 1989, Guppy & Shepard 2001, Hays et al. 2000). The latter plant was only recently recognized as a host plant for this butterfly (Hays et al. 2000).
Early instar larvae feed on lupine leaves, then transfer to flowers and fruit, and in spring (post-diapause) feed on young host plant shoots (Scott 1986, Pyle 2002). When feeding on leaves, larvae eat holes halfway through the leaves, leaving round yellow scars (James & Nunnallee 2011). Larvae of this species are nocturnal, feeding at night and retreating under host plants (often in ant chambers) during the day (James & Nunnallee 2011, Pyle 2002, Scott 1986). The larvae do not construct their own nests (Scott 1986, James & Nunnallee 2011). There are four larval instars in this species. The second instar ceases activity, seeks shelter in duff at the base of the host plant, and enters diapause for the winter (James & Nunnallee 2011). Pupation in this species occurs at the base of the Lupinus food plant and lasts for around three weeks before adult emergence (Guppy & Shepard 2001).
Many species in the family Lycaenidae engage in a mutualistic relationship with ants in which the ants provide protection from parasitoids and predators in exchange for a high-nitrogen, sugar-rich honeydew produced by the larvae (Pyle 2002, LaBar 2009). Secreted from glands in the larval abdomen, this nectar-like substance is carefully collected by tending ants. Ant-tending in P. i. blackmorei larvae is well-documented and has been frequently observed in the Puget Prairie populations (Hays et al. 2000, LaBar 2009). As noted above, larvae in this species are also known to take shelter in ant nests during the day (Pyle 2002). Additionally, P. i blackmorei larvae may also use ant tunnels while in diapause. During surveys for this taxon at a Puget Prairie site, a second-instar larva believed to be in diapause was found in an ant tunnel approximately 2-4 in. from the base of a lupine hostplant (LaBar 2012, pers. comm.). Ant activity led the observer to the larva, which was positioned about 1 in. below ground, under the duff, rocks, and roots of the hostplant (LaBar 2012, pers. comm.). At another Puget Prairie site, a mature (fourth instar) larva was observed at 5:00 pm being "herded" into a tiny burrow at the base of a lupine plant by at least eleven thatch ants (Formica species), and when it was checked at 6:30 pm, the larva was not visible and only three ants appeared to be guarding the hole (LaBar 2012, pers. comm.). The next morning at 8:00 am, the larva was found curled up in the hole like it was preparing to pupate, and at least a half dozen ants emerged from the hole and tried to bite the forceps the observer used to uncover the hole to take photographs. These observations suggest that pupation might also take place in ant tunnels, and that ants may afford protection during the pupation period (LaBar 2012, pers. comm.).
In addition to ant attendance, camouflage and diurnal concealment are likely important predator avoidance strategies for this species (James & Nunnallee 2011). Parasitism in this species is common, including Trichogramma wasps (Hymenoptera: Trichogrammatidae), Apanteles theclae wasps (Hymenoptera: Braconidae), and tachinid flies (Diptera: Tachinidae) (reviewed in Guppy & Shepard 2001).
Range, Distribution, and Abundance:

Rangewide: This rare subspecies is known from Vancouver Island, British Columbia, south into the Olympic Mountains and Puget Trough of Washington (Pyle 2002). Numerous historic sites for this species have been lost, although at least a few sites in each of the above regions are still extant (Hinchliff 1996, Guppy & Shepard 2001, Schultz et al. 2011, Miskelly 2010, pers. comm.).


Washington: This subspecies has been documented from around 20 to 30 localities in Washington, with known records from Clallam, Jefferson, King, Pierce, Thurston, Grays Harbor, and Mason Counties (Hinchliff 1996, Potter 2011, pers. comm.). Most extant sites are in the Olympic Mountains, and a few (7 to 10) are in the Puget Trough prairies (Shultz et al. 2011, Potter 2011, pers. comm.). According to Pyle (2002), the two areas may represent separate subspecies.


Oregon: This subspecies has not been found and is not expected in Oregon.
Federal Land: This subspecies is documented on the Olympic National Forest.
Abundance: Current population sizes at prairie sites in the Puget Trough range from few to 100’s of individuals (Schultz et al. 2011). Population size estimates have not been conducted at sites in the Olympic Mountains. Recent surveys in the southern Olympics list this species as “abundant; found wherever lupine blooms” (Yake 2005).

Habitat Associations:

This subspecies occurs in a diversity of lowland, subalpine, and alpine habitat with lupine host plants present. At low elevations in the southern Puget Trough, it is found in glacial outwash prairies, grasslands, roadsides, and forest openings. In montane habitats, it occurs in alpine meadows, clearcuts, and nearby forest edges and openings. Known records in the Olympic Mountains are from elevations of ~580 to 1914 m (1900 to 6280 ft.). According to Pyle (2002), it virtually never occurs farther than 46 m (50 yards) from lupine host plants. See Life History section for details on this butterfly’s larval food plants and adult nectar sources.


At Puget prairie sites, Hays et al. (2000) report that this butterfly occurs in the highest densities in areas with high percent cover of native forbs and low percent cover of invasive grasses.
Threats:

Global climate change poses a serious threat to high altitude populations in the Olympic Mountains and on Vancouver Island, as warming climatic conditions are expected to eliminate much alpine habitat at these sites (Miller & Hammond 2007, Pyle 2011, pers. comm.). Projected climate changes in this region include increased frequency and severity of seasonal flooding and droughts, reduced snowpack, and increased air temperatures (Field et al. 2007), all of which could impact this butterfly’s habitat unfavorably. Recreational use of P. i. blackmorei habitat may also threaten high elevation populations of this butterfly. Although Olympic National Park has very little development, a major paved road to the center of Hurricane Ridge introduces thousands of visitors to P. i. blackmorei habitat each year, and concerns have been raised over the sheer physical impact of people on the tundra (Pyle 1975). Substantial deterioration in native plant communities due to off-trail trampling was documented at Hurricane Ridge in 1973 (Pyle 1975), and such effects are expected to have increased since that time. Blue Mountain, Obstruction Peak, and other sites in the Olympic National Park also receive heavy impact from hikers and other visitors. Sites in the National Forest may be negatively impacted by logging, particularly if damage occurs to lupine host plant populations.


Low altitude populations are threatened by habitat loss and fragmentation due to many anthropogenic factors. According to Pyle (2002), human development has eliminated much of the habitat of P. i. blackmorei in Washington’s post-glacier prairie populations, and remaining habitat is seriously threatened by encroachment of habitat by woody vegetation and invasive plants (NatureServe 2011). For example, Hays et al. (2000) found that invasive Scotch broom (Cytisus scoparius) covered 20 to over 60% of two prairie sites for the Puget Blue. Although these populations are currently surviving despite high levels of invasive plants, long-term persistence is questionable. Guppy and Shepard (2001) show around 20 low elevation sites on southeastern Vancouver Island where this species was extirpated, presumably due to the spread of Scotch broom and fire suppression, both of which served to choke out Lupinus latifolius, the native lupine host plant at these sites (Guppy and Shepard 2001). In contrast, subalpine logging on Vancouver Island appears to have opened up habitat for lupine growth, resulting in sustained populations at some subalpine sites (Guppy and Shepard 2001, Miskelly 2010, pers. comm.). This example illustrates how disturbances may vary in their effects on this species, depending largely on the timing of disturbance and reaction of lupine populations.
Conservation Considerations:

All members of P. icarioides exhibit strict reliance on lupine host plants, making these butterflies particularly vulnerable to habitat loss, population declines, and, in some cases, extinction. For example, the Fender’s Blue (P. icarioides fenderi) is an Oregon subspecies seriously threatened with extinction due to habitat loss via agriculture and urban development. Both this butterfly and its host plant (Kincaid’s lupine, Lupinus sulphureus ssp. kincaidii) are federally listed as endangered (Neill 2007). Similarly, the closely related Mission Blue (P. icarioides missionensis) is threatened with extinction in California and is also federally listed as endangered.


Inventory: Survey for new populations in unsurveyed potential habitat in the Olympic National Forest and Park. Recent records of P. i. blackmorei in the southern Olympics have resulted in a significant extension of the known range of this taxon (Yake 2005, Yake 2011, pers. comm.). As such, the distribution of this subspecies is expected to include more of the Olympic Mountains than is currently documented, particularly in the southern Olympics and central areas in between the northern and southern sites. According to Yake (2005), we have only begun to sketch out the presence and distribution of butterflies in the southern Olympics, and continued support of surveys in this region is needed. Since known records of the Puget Blue are mostly clustered at sites in the Olympic Mountains that can be easily accessed by car or foot, surveys may be most pressing in difficult-to-reach areas of the Olympics accessed only by rigorous backpacking. In addition to surveys for new populations, conduct abundance estimates at known Washington sites in order to evaluate trends in population size, growth rates, and distribution (Schultz et al. 2011).
Research: Clarify the taxonomic relationship of the montane (Olympics) and lowland (Puget Trough) populations of this taxon. Research lupine propagation and transplant methods (Schultz et al. 2011). Identify which ant species tend and defend P. i. blackmorei larvae, and determine the extent to which the larvae depend on ants for survival (Hays et al. 2000, Schultz et al. 2011). Evaluation of the relationship between P. i. blackmorei larvae and ant mutualists may help explain why larvae are difficult to find in the field, and whether herbicides disrupt this relationship (LaBar 2009). Research the potential effects of herbicide-based management on butterfly survival, demography and behavior, including the potential for herbicides to alter chemical cues used in P. i. blackmorei oviposition-selectivity (LaBar 2009). Evaluation of herbicide effects on at-risk butterflies will aid managers in developing herbicide use guidelines and habitat restoration plans (LaBar 2009).
Hays et al. (2000) recommends research into the unusual and apparently highly specialized feeding behavior of this subspecies (Hays et al. 2000). The current understanding is that Washington prairie populations have a clear preference for unopened flowers of L. albicaulis, although the feeding mechanism and specific food source (e.g., aphid secretions?) on the unopened flowerheads have not been determined (Hays et al. 2000).
Management: Protect known and potential sites from practices that would adversely affect any aspect of this species’ life cycle or habitat.

Monitor known sites to assess the impact of global warming on the abundance and distribution of this taxon. Avoid further development of Hurricane Ridge, which might predictably attract more visitors to the area and result in further reductions of the larval food plants of this species (Pyle 1975). Maintain or improve habitat for all rare populations, with the goal of ensuring adequate host and nectar plants (Opler et al. 2011). Consider the potential impacts to both lupine species and nectar plants for any management activities conducted at any given site. For example, at Puget Prairie sites consider the effects of management on Lupinus albicaulis, Marah oreganus and Vicia sativa nectar plants (Hays et al. 2000).


Field trials by LaBar (2009) found that female Puget blues had lower residence time in plots treated with a grass-specific herbicide (sethoxydim) than in control plots, suggesting that any herbicide-based management approaches should be used with caution for this species. LaBar (2009) provides several recommendations for dealing with invasive grasses in Puget blue prairie habitat, including early detection to limit the need for potential herbicide use, spot spraying or hand pulling of weeds, and rotated spraying at a scale that allows adult butterflies the option of moving between treated and untreated habitat patches. If intensive chemical and mechanical management is necessary at sites with a high density of invasive plants, a careful balance must be found between the benefits of invasive plant management and the potential (and largely unstudied) negative impacts on butterflies (e.g., unattractive habitat, reduced oviposition, reduced food plants, direct mortality) (LaBar 2009). According to Hays et al. (2000), assessment of general vegetation classes indicates that this butterfly can utilize (at least for nectaring) areas with 28 to 60% cover of non-native grasses and forbs. Thus, conservation strategies for this species may not require re-establishment of grassland communities dominated by native grasses and forbs in all areas (Hays et al. 2000), especially if herbicide-use has heavy costs. Based on this subspecies’ heavy use of edge habitats in prairie populations, Hays et al. (2000) suggest that restoration efforts focused on edge habitats would be especially beneficial for this butterfly.
Yake (2005) stresses the need to protect sensitive, butterfly-rich habitat outside the Olympic National Park boundary, including Discovery Lake and surrounding meadows (Olympic National Forest).

Version 2:

Prepared by: Sarah Foltz Jordan, Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation

Date: January 2012

Edited by: Sarina Jepsen, Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation

Date: January 2012

Final Edits by: Rob Huff, Conservation Planning Coordinator, FS/BLM-Portland

Date: February 2012
Version 1:

Prepared by: John Fleckenstein, Natural Heritage Program, Washington Department of Natural Resources

Date: January 2006

Edited by: Rob Huff, Conservation Planning Coordinator, FS/BLM-Portland

Date: June 2007
ATTACHMENTS:


  1. References

  2. List of pertinent or knowledgeable contacts

  3. Map of subspecies distribution at montane sites in Washington

  4. Photographs of adults and larva

  5. Lepidoptera survey protocol, including specifics for this subspecies



ATTACHMENT 1: References
Field, C.B., Mortsch, L.D., Brklacich, M., Forbes, D.L., Kovacs, P., Patz, J.A., Running, S.W. and Scott, M.J. 2007. Chapter 14: North America. In: Climate Change 2007: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (Parry, M.L., Canziani, O.F., Palutikof, J.P., van der Linden, P.J. and Hanson, C.E., eds.). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK. Available at: www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/wg2/ar4-wg2-chapter14.pdf (Accessed 20 July 2010).
Guppy, C.S. and J.H. Shepard. 2001. Butterflies of British Columbia. UBC Press and Royal British Columbia Museum, Victoria, BC. 414 pp.
Hinchliff' J. 1994. An Atlas of Washington Butterflies. The Evergreen Aurelians, Corvallis, OR. 162 pp.
Hays, D.W., Potter, A.E., Thompson, C.W., and P.V. Dunn. 2000. Critical habitat components for four rare south Puget Sound butterflies. Final Report. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Olympia, WA. 36 pp.
James, D.G. and D. Nunnallee. 2011. Life histories of Cascadia butterflies. Oregon State University Press, Corvallis, Oregon. 447 pp.
LaBar, C. 2009. Investigating the use of herbicides to control invasive grasses in prairie habitats: effects of non-target butterflies. M.S. Thesis. Vancouver, Washington: Washington State University. 37 pp.
LaBar, Caitlin. 2012. Personal communication with Sarah Foltz Jordan, Xerces Society.

Miller, J.C. and P.C. Hammond 2007. Butterflies and moths of Pacific Northwest forests and woodlands: Rare, endangered, and management-sensitive species. Forest Health Technology Team. 234 pp.

Miskelly, James. 2010. Personal communication with Ann Potter, WDFW.

NatureServe. 2011. “Plebejus icarioides blackmorei”. Version 7.1 (2 February 2009). Data last updated: July 2011. Available at: www.natureserve.org/explorer (Accessed 3 June 2011).
Neill, W. 2007. Butterflies of the Pacific Northwest. Mountain Press Publishing Company, Missoula, MT. 192 pp.
Opler, P.A., Lotts, K., and T. Naberhaus, coordinators. 2011. Butterflies and Moths of North America. Bozeman, MT: Big Sky Institute (Version 06032011). Available at http://www.butterfliesandmoths.org

(Accessed 27 December 2011).


Potter, A. 2011. Personal communication with Sarah Foltz Jordan, Xerces Society.
Pyle, R.M. 1975. Status of the Valerata arctic. Atala 3(2): 32-35.
Pyle, R.M. 1989. Washington butterfly conservation status report and plan. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Olympia, WA. 216pp.
Pyle, R.M. 2002. The butterflies of Cascadia. Seattle Audubon Society. Seattle, WA. 420 pp.
Pyle, R.M. 2011. Personal communication with Sarah Foltz Jordan, Xerces Society.
Schultz, C.B., Henry, E., Carleton, A., Hicks, T., Thomas, R., Potter, A., Collins, M., Linders, M., Fimbel, C., Black, S., Anderson, H.E., Diehl, G., Hamman, S., Gilbert, R., Foster, J., Hays, D., Wilderman, D., Davenport, R., Steel, E., Page, N., Lilley, P.L., Heron, J., Kroeker, N., Webb, C. and B. Reader. 2011. Conservation of prairie-oak butterflies in Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia. Northwest Science 85: 361388.
Scott, J.A. 1986. The Butterflies of North America: A Natural History and Field Guide. Stanford University Press, Stanford CA. 583 pp.
Yake, B. 2005. Butterflies of the Southern Olympics: The results of surveys from 2002-2004 with special focus on 2004. A report prepared for the Olympic National Park, March 1, 2005.

Yake, B. 2011. Personal communication with Carly Voight, Xerces Society.


ATTACHMENT 2: List of pertinent or knowledgeable contacts
Cheryl Fimbel

David Hays

Caitlin LaBar

Ann Potter

Robert Pyle

John Shepard

Cheryl Schultz

Bill Yake



ATTACHMENT 3: Map of subspecies distribution at montane sites in Washinton

Known Plebejus icarioides blackmorei sites on or near Forest Service land in Washington. Prairie populations of this species in the Puget Trough of Washington are not shown, but see Schultz et al. (2011) for a map of the current distribution of Washington prairie populations.



ATTACHMENT 4: Photographs of adults and larva.


Dorsal view of Plebejus icarioides blackmorei female at a Puget Prairie site. Photograph by Caitlin LaBar, used with permission.


Dorsal view of Plebejus icarioides blackmorei male at a Puget Prairie site. Photograph by Caitlin LaBar, used with permission.



Dorsal view of Plebejus icarioides blackmorei male, puddling at a Puget Prairie site. Photograph by Caitlin LaBar, used with permission.


Ventral view of Plebejus icarioides blackmorei female at a Puget Prairie site. Photograph by Caitlin LaBar, used with permission.



Plebejus icarioides blackmorei mating pair (male on top, female on bottom) at a Puget Prairie site. Photograph by Caitlin LaBar, used with permission.


Ant tending Plebejus icarioides blackmorei larva at a Puget Prairie site. Photograph by Caitlin LaBar, used with permission.


ATTACHMENT 5: Lepidoptera survey protocol, including specifics for this subspecies
Taxonomic group:

Lepidoptera


Where:

Lepidopterans utilize a diversity of terrestrial habitats. When surveying new areas, seek out places with adequate larval food plants, nectar sources, and habitat to sustain a population. Many species have highly specific larval feeding preferences (e.g., limited to one or a few related plant species whose defenses they have evolved to overcome), while other species exhibit more general feeding patterns, including representatives from multiple plant families in their diet. For species-specific dietary preferences and habitat information, see the section at the end of this protocol.


When:

Adults are surveyed in the spring, summer, and fall, within the window of the species’ documented flight period. Although some butterfly species overwinter as adults and live in the adult stage for several months to a year, the adult life span of the species considered here is short and adults are available for only a brief period each year (see species-specific details, below). Larvae are surveyed during the time of year when the larvae are actively foraging on their host plants. Since the foraging period is often quite short (e.g., a couple of weeks) and varies greatly depending on the weather, the timing of these surveys can be challenging (LaBar 2009, pers. comm.).


Adults:

Butterflies are predominantly encountered nectaring at flowers, in flight, basking on warm rock or ground, or puddling (sipping water rich in mineral salts from a puddle, moist ground, or dung). Adults are collected using a long-handled aerial sweep net with mesh light enough to see the specimen through the net. When stalking perched individuals, approach slowly from behind. When chasing, swing from behind and be prepared to pursue the insect. A good method is to stand to the side of a butterfly’s flight path and swing out as it passes. After capture, quickly flip the top of the net bag over to close the mouth and prevent the butterfly from escaping. Once netted, most insects tend to fly upward, so hold the mouth of the net downward and reach in from below when retrieving the butterfly. Since most butterflies can be identified by macroscopic characters, high quality photographs will likely provide sufficient evidence of species occurrences at a site, and those of lesser quality may at least be valuable in directing further study to an area. Use a camera with good zoom or macrolens and focus on the aspects of the body that are the most critical to species determination (i.e., dorsal and ventral patterns of the wings) (Pyle 2002). If collection of voucher specimens is necessary, the captured butterfly should be placed into a cyanide killing jar or glassine envelope as soon as possible to avoid damage to the wings by fluttering. To remove the specimen from the net by hand, grasp it carefully through the net by the thorax, pinching it slightly to stun it, and then transfer it to the killing jar (Triplehorn and Johnson 2005). Small species, such as blues and hairstreaks, should not be pinched. Alternatively, the kill jar may be inserted into the net in order to get the specimen into the jar without direct handling, or spade-tip forceps may be used. Since damage to specimens often occurs in the kill jar, large, heavy-bodied specimens should be kept in separate jars from small, delicate ones, or killed by pinching and placed directly into glassine envelopes. If a kill jar is used, take care to ensure that it is of sufficient strength to kill the insects quickly and is not overcrowded with specimens. Following a sufficient period of time in the kill jar, specimens can be transferred to glassine-paper envelopes for storage until pinning and spreading. For illustrated instructions on the preparation and spreading of lepidopterans for formal collections, consult Chapter 35 of Triplehorn and Johnson (2005).


Collection labels should include the following information: date, time of day, collector, detailed locality (including geographical coordinates, mileage from named location, elevation), detailed habitat (including vegetation types, vegetation canopy cover, suspected or documented host plants, degree of human impact, landscape contours such as direction and angle of slopes), and insect behavior (e.g., “puddling”). Complete determination labels include the species name, sex (if known), determiner name, and date determined. Mating pairs should be indicated as such and stored together, if possible.
Relative abundance surveys can be achieved using either the Pollard Walk method, in which the recorder walks only along a precisely marked transect, or the checklist method, in which the recorder is free to wander at will in active search of productive habitats and nectar sites (Royer et al. 2008). A test of differences in effectiveness between these two methods at seven sites found that checklist searching produced significantly more butterfly detections per hour than Pollard walks at all sites, and the number of species detected per hour did not differ significantly between methods (Royer et al. 2008). The study concluded that checklist surveys are a more efficient means for initial surveys and generating species lists at a site, whereas the Pollard walk is more practical and statistically manageable for long-term monitoring. Recorded information should include start and end times, weather, species, sex, and behavior (e.g., “female nectaring on flowers of Lathyrus nevadensis”).


While researchers are visiting sites and collecting specimens, detailed habitat data should also be acquired, including vegetation types, vegetation canopy cover, suspected or documented host plant species, landscape contours (including direction and angle of slopes), and degree of human impact. Photographs of habitat are also a good supplement for collected specimens and, if taken, should be cataloged and referred to on the insect labels.



Larvae and pupae:

Lepidoptera larvae are generally found on vegetation or soil, often creeping slowly along the substrate or feeding on foliage. Pupae occur in soil or adhering to twigs, bark, or vegetation. Since the larvae usually travel away from the host plant and pupate in the duff or soil, pupae of most species are almost impossible to find.


Since many Lepidoptera species and subspecies have not been described in their larval stage and diagnostic keys for identifying species of caterpillars in the Pacific Northwest are scarce, rearing can be critical in both (1) enabling identification and (2) providing novel associations of larvae with adults (Miller 1995). Moreover, high quality (undamaged) adult specimens, particularly of the large-bodied species, are often best obtained by rearing.
Most species of butterflies can be easily reared from collected eggs, larvae, or pupae, or from eggs laid by gravid females in captivity. Large, muslin-covered jars may be used as breeding cages, or a larger cage can be made from boards and a fine-meshed wire screen (Dornfeld 1980). When collecting caterpillars for rearing indoors, collect only as many individuals as can be successfully raised and supported without harm to the insect population or to local host plants (Miller 1995). A fresh supply of larval foodplant will be needed, and sprigs should be replenished regularly and placed in wet sand rather than water (into which the larvae could drown) (Dornfeld 1980). Alternatively, the plant cuttings can be place in a small, sturdy jar of water and either pierced through a tinfoil-plastic wrap layer covering the jar, or positioned with paper towels stuffed between them to fill any spaces that the larvae could slip through (LaBar 2009, pers. comm.). The presence of slightly moistened peat moss can help maintain appropriate moisture conditions and also provide a retreat for the caterpillar at the time of pupation (Miller 1995). Depending on the species, soil or small sticks should also be provided as the caterpillars approach pupation. Although rearing indoors enables faster growth due to warmer temperatures, this method requires that appropriate food be consistently provided and problems with temperature, dehydration, fungal growth, starvation, cannibalism, and overcrowding are not uncommon (Miller 1995). Rearing caterpillars in cages in the field alleviates the need to provide food and appropriate environmental conditions, but may result in slower growth or missing specimens. Field rearing is usually conducted in “rearing sleeves,” bags of mesh material that are open at both ends and can be slipped over a branch or plant and secured at both ends. Upon emergence, all non-voucher specimens should be released back into the environment from which the larvae, eggs, or gravid female were obtained (Miller 1995).
According to Miller (1995), the simplest method for preserving caterpillar voucher specimens is as follows: Heat water to about 180°C. Without a thermometer, an appropriate temperature can be obtained by bringing the water to a boil and then letting it sit off the burner for a couple of minutes before putting the caterpillar in the water. Extremely hot water may cause the caterpillar to burst. After it has been in the hot water for three seconds, transfer the caterpillar to 70% ethyl alcohol (isopropyl alcohol is less desirable) for permanent storage. Note that since this preservation method will result in the caterpillar losing most or all of its color; photographic documentation of the caterpillar prior to preservation is important. See Peterson (1962) and Stehr (1987) for additional caterpillar preservation methods.
Species-specific Survey Details:

Plebejus icarioides blackmorei
This subspecies is known from Vancouver Island, British Columbia, south into the Olympic Mountains and Puget Trough of Washington (Pyle 2002). Extant Washington sites are in the Olympic Mountains and the Puget Trough prairies (Shultz et al. 2011, Potter 2011, pers. comm.). Surveys for new populations in unsurveyed potential habitat in the Olympic National Forest and Park are recommended. Recent records of P. i. blackmorei in the southern Olympics have resulted in a significant extension of the known range of this taxon (Yake 2005, Yake 2011, pers. comm.). As such, the distribution of this subspecies is expected to include more of the Olympic Mountains than is currently documented, particularly in the southern Olympics and central areas in between the northern and southern sites. According to Yake (2005), we have only begun to sketch out the presence and distribution of butterflies in the southern Olympics, and continued support of surveys in this region is needed. Since known records of this butterfly are mostly clustered at sites in the Olympic Mountains that can be easily accessed by car or foot, surveys may be most pressing in difficult-to-reach areas of the Olympics accessed only by rigorous backpacking. In addition to surveys for new populations, abundance estimates are needed at known Washington sites in order to evaluate trends in population size, growth rates, and distribution (Schultz et al. 2011).
This butterfly occurs in a diversity of lowland, subalpine, and alpine habitat with lupine host plants present. At low elevations in the southern Puget Trough, it is found in glacial outwash prairies, grasslands, roadsides, and forest openings. In montane habitats in the Olympic Mountains and Vancouver Island, it occurs in alpine meadows, clearcuts, and nearby forest edges and openings. Known records in the Olympic Mountains are from elevations of ~580 to 1914 m (1900 to 6280 ft.). Surveys should take place in any of the above habitats with lupine host plants present. According to Pyle (2002), this butterfly virtually never occurs farther than 46 m (50 yards) from lupine. Lupinus latifolius (arctic lupine) is a known host plant for this subspecies on Vancouver Island and at higher elevation populations in Washington, while lower elevation Washington sites are known to use L. albicaulis (Sickle-keeled lupine) (Pyle 1989, Guppy & Shepard 2001, Hays et al. 2000). For the species as a whole, L. lepidus, L. laxiflorus, L. sericeus, L. sericeus, and L. sulphureus have also been recorded in Cascadia (Pyle 2002). If more than one lupine species is present at a site, larvae usually prefer the hairiest species (Pyle 2002, Scott 1986).
Surveys should take place during the adult flight period. The flight period of this subspecies is from late May through late June at low elevation prairies (Hays et al. 2000), and from June through August at higher sites. Known records in the Olympic Mountains are from June 16th to August 28th (Yake 2005, Potter 2011, pers. comm.). This species is univoltine, with one generation per year. The flight period is relatively long; about 30 days at a given locality depending on elevation and moisture (Guppy & Shepard 2001, Pyle 2002). Since rainfall and cloudy weather are major set-backs to Lepidoptera surveys in this region (Pyle 1975), survey expeditions should be of long enough duration to ensure at least some sunny weather.
Adults of both sexes may be found sipping mud and nectaring on a variety of flowers. Males patrol during the day near host plants for females (Scott 1986), and are often seen in large congregations puddling on mud (James & Nunnallee 2011). At montane sites in the Olympic National Forest and Park, this butterfly has been observed puddling, perched on rock, and nectaring on pearly everlasting, white heather, and fleabane (Yake 2005, Yake 2011, pers. comm.). Nectaring in prairie populations most frequently occurs on unopened flowerheads of Sickle-keeled lupine (Lupinus albicaulis) (Hays et al. 2000). Females may be observed ovipositing on lupine plants (Scott 1986).
Larvae of this species are nocturnal, feeding at night and retreating under host plants (often in ant chambers) during the day (James & Nunnallee 2011, Pyle 2002, Scott 1986). Larvae can be found in spring by searching lupine host plants for the presence of ants and larval feeding marks (round yellow scars), then searching under promising plants for the resting larvae (James & Nunnallee 2011). Although there are several look-alike species, close attention to host plant, timing, and larval patterns will aid in identification (James & Nunnallee 2011).
Plebejus icarioides blackmorei is a relatively large blue (Polyommatinae), readily identified using wing characteristics. In the Olympic Mountains, it could potentially be confused with numerous other blue species with overlapping ranges. Distinguishing features are provided in the Species Fact Sheet.
Surveys for P. i. blackmorei could be combined with surveys for P. lupini spangelatus and Oeneis chryxus valerata, two other ISSSSP-WA Sensitive butterflies known from many of the same sites in the Olympic Mountains, and with similar flight periods.
References (Survey Protocol only):
Guppy, C.S. and J.H. Shepard. 2001. Butterflies of British Columbia. UBC Press and Royal British Columbia Museum, Victoria, BC. 414 pp.
Hays, D.W., Potter, A.E., Thompson, C.W., and P.V. Dunn. 2000. Critical habitat components for four rare south Puget Sound butterflies. Final Report. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Olympia, WA. 36 pp.
James, D.G. and D. Nunnallee. 2011. Life histories of Cascadia butterflies. Oregon State University Press, Corvallis, Oregon. 447 pp.
LaBar, C. 2009. Personal communication with Sarah Foltz. Xerces Society.
Miller, J.C. 1995. Caterpillars of Pacific Northwest Forests and Woodlands. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, National Center of Forest Health Management, Morgantown, West Virginia. FHM-NC-06-95. 80 pp. Jamestown, ND: Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online. 5 February 2009. Available at: http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/insects/catnw/index.htm(Version 21APR2000) (Accessed: 10/10/2011).
Neill, W. 2007. Butterflies of the Pacific Northwest. Mountain Press Publishing Company, Missoula, MT. 192 pp.
Peterson, A. 1962. Larvae of insects. Part 1: Lepidoptera and Hymenoptera. Ann Arbor, MI: Printed by Edwards Bros. 315 pp.
Potter, A. 2011. Personal communication with Sarah Foltz Jordan, Xerces Society.
Pyle, R.M. 1975. Status of the Valerata arctic. Atala 3(2): 32-35.
Pyle, R.M. 2002. The butterflies of Cascadia. Seattle Audubon Society. Seattle, WA. 420 pp.
Pyle, R.M. 2011. Personal communication with Sarah Foltz Jordan, Xerces Society.
Schultz, C.B., Henry, E., Carleton, A., Hicks, T., Thomas, R., Potter, A., Collins, M., Linders, M., Fimbel, C., Black, S., Anderson, H.E., Diehl, G., Hamman, S., Gilbert, R., Foster, J., Hays, D., Wilderman, D., Davenport, R., Steel, E., Page, N., Lilley, P.L., Heron, J., Kroeker, N., Webb, C. and B. Reader. 2011. Conservation of prairie-oak butterflies in Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia. Northwest Science 85: 361–388.
Scott, J.A. 1986. The Butterflies of North America: A Natural History and Field Guide. Stanford University Press, Stanford CA. 583 pp.
Stehr, F.W. (ed.). 1987. Immature insects. Vol. 1. Dubuque, IA: Kendall Hunt Publishing Co. 754 pp.
Triplehorn, C. and N. Johnson. 2005. Introduction to the Study of Insects. Thomson Brooks/Cole, Belmont, CA. 864 pp.
Yake, B. 2005. Butterflies of the Southern Olympics: The results of surveys from 2002-2004 with special focus on 2004. A report prepared for the Olympic National Park, March 1, 2005.
Yake, B. 2011. Personal communication with Carly Voight, Xerces Society.




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