March 7, 2002
Insulating Snow and Karner Blue
In the area of the world that I live in, my bioregion if you will, there is a beautifil little butterfly called the Karner Blue that is endangered. The insulating properties of snow play a key role in where this butterfly is able to live.
The Karner Blue has only one plant that it eats during it's larval stage and that is the wild lupine. There are two generations of Karner Blue that live each year. The second generation lays its eggs near the base of lupine plants so that when the eggs hatch the next spring they will have immediate access to lupine food.
There are a variety of factors that determine where the Karner Blue is found, many of them linked to the needs of wild lupine. But one of the more interesting requirements for the Karner Blue is the presence of enough snow during the winter to help insulate the eggs on the ground.