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The Karner blue butterfly (Lycaeides melissa samuelis) is a federally endangered species that inhabits the northern tier of states from Minnesota to New York. The Karner blue is dependent upon the wild blue lupine (Lupinus perennis) during its larval stages. However, only those patches at the northern edge of the lupine's range are suitable for Karner blues, and not all lupine patches support the butterfly.

Although much has been learned about the factors that make a given lupine patch acceptable to Karner blues, it appears that even suitable patches are frequently uninhabited. This patchy distribution is consistent with a metapopulation structure for the butterfly. Thus, we are in the process of developing a metapopulation model for the Karner blue, using data on presence and absence across a large number of lupine patches at Fort McCoy.

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