Tom's Blog

Friday, July 17, 2009

Butterflies in the wetland

Yesterday Ann Thering battled a windy day to check for wetland skippers. She kindly sent me an email report. Among her finds was a Dion Skipper (Euphyes dion), which is Special Concern in Wisconsin.

The Dion Skipper is a wetland obligate, and is found in small colonies in marshes or meadows. In Wisconsin its host plants are sedges, including wool grass (Scirpus cyperinus) and lake sedge (Carex lacustris).

According to Ann, the Dion was fighting over a flower of swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) with Mulberry Wing (also Special Concern) and Black Dash Skippers (both also wetland species).

We have always had small amounts of swamp milkweed at Pleasant Valley Conservancy, but never really a lot. I guess we should plant more!

The wetland area at Pleasant Valley Conservancy is quite accessible, as we have a mowed fire break that separates it from three planted prairies (Valley, Barn, and Crane Prairies). You can walk over a half mile along this route and view wet and wet-mesic prairies on one side and spring-fed sedge meadow wetlands on the other side. This year all of the planted prairies are in great shape. The wetland is also high quality, although it needs to be burned again (FWS burned it in 2005).

Thanks, Ann, for all your butterfly work!


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