Regal Fritillary in the Northeast

image002Sharon Stichter has added a new page to the wonderful Butterflies of Massachusetts site on the history of the Regal Fritillary in the Northeast.

“The majestic Regal Fritillary was one of the most well-known and admired butterflies in New England in the 19th century,” Sharon writes.  “It is now gone, the last one seen on Block Island, Rhode Island, in 1991. Why did it die out?  Most experts agree that this wide-ranging species is most adapted to extensive, flower-filled prairies, such as those in mid-continent. Habitat loss and fragmentation here in the northeast are thought to be the most important causes of its decline.  Aerial spraying of pesticides, over-collecting, parasites, and hurricanes may also have played a role.”  Read the full account here.

This entry was posted in conservation, endangered species, general butterfly news, state butterflies. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Regal Fritillary in the Northeast

  1. Frank Boyle says:

    I also think that fires, both natural and man-made, played a role here in the Northeast to keep eastern prairie-like habitat sustained. Ship captains in the 1600s first saw smoke from many miles out at sea approaching the Chesapeake, from Native American clearing operations. When I go to Fort Indiantown Gap, I am struck by the “disturbed” yet open fields where Regals still hold on.

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