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Tuesday, February 7 • 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Student Research-in-Progress Poster Display. Butterfly Survey of Restored Croplands and Native Prairies in the Northern Loess Hills of Western Iowa

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AUTHOR: Logan Anderson, Morningside College
ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to determine the success of the establishment of butterfly habitat on land formerly used as cropland and compare cropland butterfly abundance with butterfly abundance on native upland dry prairies. In June, July and August of 2016 three native tall grass prairies and two croplands restored specifically for butterfly habitat were surveyed using the “Pollard Walk” in Plymouth and Monona counties of western Iowa. Results were compared for total number of butterflies and total number of species detected per hour. Restored croplands had significantly more butterflies detected per hour (p < 0.01); however there was no significant difference in the number of species detected per hour between the two habitat types. In addition, the restored cropland surveys encountered mostly generalist species (e.g. orange sulfurs, red admirals, etc.), while all of the native prairies included regal fritillaries, a species typically found in native dry-mesic to xeric prairies in Iowa. Our results suggest that croplands specifically restored as habitat for butterflies can be successful attractants for many lepidopteran species, especially those considered as generalists. This would include the monarch (Danaus plexippus), a species whose recent decline has been reported in the scientific literature and one we found frequently in the restored butterfly habitat.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 6:00pm - 9:00pm CST
Olive Branch Room

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