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Contact information
For information on Wisconsin's rare vertebrate animals, contact:
Rich Staffen
Conservation Biologist
For information on Wisconsin's rare invertebrates, contact:
Jay Watson
Conservation Biologist

Karner Blue (Lycaeides melissa samuelis)



Karner Blue (Lycaeides melissa samuelis), listed as Federally Endangered and State Special Concern, has been found in pine barrens and oak savanna in close association with its larval hostplant wild lupine (Lupinus perennis). It is also found along utility and road rights-of-way, abandonded agricultural fields, and managed forests. This butterfly has two flight periods, from late May through late June and again from late July through late August.

State status

Status and Natural Heritage Inventory documented occurrences in Wisconsin

The table below provides information about the protected status - both state and federal - and the rank (S and G Ranks) for Karner Blue (Lycaeides melissa samuelis). See the Working List Key for more information about abbreviations. Counties shaded blue have documented occurrences for this species in the Wisconsin Natural Heritage Inventory database. The map is provided as a general reference of where occurrences of this species meet NHI data standards and is not meant as a comprehensive map of all observations.

Note: Species recently added to the NHI Working List may temporarily have blank occurrence maps.

Documented locations of Lycaeides melissa samuelis in the Natural Heritage Inventory Database as of July 2015.
Summary Information
State StatusSC/FL
Federal Status in WisconsinLE
State RankS3
Global RankG1G2
Tracked by NHIY

Species guidance

A guidance document is not available at this time. Please visit the general Karner Blue website for species information.



Karner Blue

Male Karner blue butterfly nectaring on native flowering spurge.

Photo by Gregor Schuurman, WDNR.

Karner Blue

Karner Blue larva close-up with ant.

Photo © Cathy Bleser.

Karner Blue

Karner Blue, below. Waushara County.

Photo © Mike Reese.

Karner Blue

Karner egg on Lupine.

Photo by Kelly Kearns, WDNR.

Karner Blue

Karner Blue, female above.

Photo © Mike Reese.

Wildlife Action Plan

Wisconsin Wildlife Action Plan graphic

Natural community (habitat) associations

The table below lists the natural communities that are associated with Karner Blue. Only natural communities for which Karner Blue is "high" (score=3) or "moderate" (score=2) associated are shown. See the key to association scores for complete definitions. Please see the Wildlife Action Plan to learn how this information was developed.

Ecological landscape associations

The table below lists the ecological landscape association scores for Karner Blue. The scores correspond to the map (3=High, 2=Moderate, 1=Low, 0=None). For more information, please see the Wildlife Action Plan.

This map shows the probability of Karner Blue occurring in each of Wisconsin's Ecological Landscapes.  Actual scores can be found in the table to the left.

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Landscape-Community combinations of highest ecological priority*

Ecological priorities are the combinations of natural communities and ecological landscapes that provide Wisconsin's best opportunities to conserve important habitats for a given Species of Greatest Conservation Need. The 10 highest scoring combinations are considered ecological priorities and are listed below. More than 10 combinations are listed if multiple combinations tied for 10th place. For more information, please see the Wildlife Action Plan.

* Ecological priority score is a relative measure that is not meant for comparison between species. This score does not consider socio-economical factors that may dictate protection and/or management priorities differently than those determined solely by ecological analysis. Further, a low ecological priority score does not imply that management or preservation should not occur on a site if there are important reasons for doing so locally.

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Issues/threats and conservation actions

Conservation actions respond to issues or threats, which adversely affect species of greatest conservation need (SGCN) or their habitats. Besides actions such as restoring wetlands or planting resilient tree species in northern communities, research, surveys and monitoring are also among conservation actions described in the WWAP because lack of information can threaten our ability to successfully preserve and care for natural resources.

Threats/issues and conservations actions for rare animals

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Last revised: Thursday, October 08, 2020