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COSEWIC Assessment and Update Status Report on the Karner Blue in Canada
The Karner Blue (Lycaeides melissa samuelis Nabokov) butterfly has historically been found in oak savannahs scattered within the Deciduous Forest Region of southern Ontario. The larva of this butterfly feeds solely on Wild Lupine (Lupinus perennis Linnaeus), which is quite restricted in its distribution in Ontario. Land-use changes over the years have reduced the number of sites available for the Karner Blue and degraded the sites that remain. These pressures during the late 1980s and early 1990s resulted in the demise of the Karner Blue in Ontario. The situation is quite similar in the United States, which makes up the rest of the butterfly’s historic range. This subspecies is extirpated or endangered in all but one state where its status has not been determined. Because of the loss of much of the suitable habitat in Ontario, declining Karner Blue populations in Ontario and throughout its range, and the absence of any sightings in Ontario in the last four years, it is likely that the butterfly no longer exists in Canada. It is recommended that the Karner Blue (Lycaeides melissa samuelis Nabokov) be designated as Extirpated in Canada.
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