Saving Wildlife and Wild Places 2016

Access digital copies of guides and regulations publications from the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

Issue link: http://digital.outdoornebraska.gov/i/636900

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Butterf lies... The monarch butterfly weighs less than a gram, yet needs to travel thousands of miles each year. To restore the monarch, everyone needs to help, and everyone can do something. 2 Continued from page 1 90 percent in the last 20 years, so the monarch butterfly was recently petitioned for protection under the Endangered Species Act. The monarch is not the only declining butterfly. The regal fritillary (Speyeria idalia) is a large, orange and black butterfly that is similar in size to the monarch butterfly. The regal fritillary is found throughout Nebraska, but is mostly associated with tallgrass prairies, meadows and pastures. The larvae feed on violets while the adults feed on a variety of flowers such as milkweeds, thistles, clover, and purple coneflower. On April 19, 2013, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service received a petition to list the regal fritillary under the Endangered Species Act. It is also listed as a Tier 1 Species of Greatest Conservation Need by the Nebraska Natural Legacy Project. Passionate people are taking action now to reverse these declines. Canada, Mexico and the United States have joined forces to help the monarchs by reducing threats and improving habitat across its entire range. Locally, biologists, landowners, teachers, children, nurseries and gardeners are already working to help. They are improving habitat by reducing the use of chemicals, while also planting milkweed (the food for caterpillars) and other nectar producing flowers (adults use a variety of flowers). In Nebraska, there are several choices of native species of milkweed. You can help monarchs in your own yard by planting native milkweed such as common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) or butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa), and other native, pollinator friendly plants. There is also the urgent need to track monarchs across their range over time to better understand and adjust conservation measures to be most effective. Thanks to the Wildlife Conservation Fund, a citizen science project was launched in 2015 to monitor monarchs and the regal fritillary. We are asking for help with two levels of surveys. Level one is site observation and documenting conditions. Level two requires walking transects and recording butterflies as well as daily conditions. Next spring there will be training available for survey methods and opportunities to conduct surveys for these two butterflies. Visit OutdoorNebraska.org to learn more next spring. ✔ NGPC LIBRARY PHOTO BY ERIC FOWLER A female regal fritillary butterfly sits on a tall thistle at Burchard Lake Wildlife Management Area in Pawnee County. A monarch butterfly nectars on milkweed. A variety of pollinator species perfect for the larvae and adults. PHOTO BY MIKE FORSBERG

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