Regal Fritillary, a Butterfly in Arkansas, Object of USFWS Search
Article first appeared at Ammoland.com
The regal fritillary is less than two inches long at maturity – small for butterflies – but its bright colors make it both noticeable and memorable. Unfortunately, not many of the butterflies are living in Arkansas today.
The regal fritillary is primarily dark orange with a fringe of nearly black on its outer portions. On females, two rows of white dots are in this fringe. On males, an inner row of white dots and an outer row of orange dots is in the fringe.
According to Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia. “With a loss of more than 99 percent of the original native tallgrass prairie land cover today, decreased sustainable habitat area for the regal fritillary has become a real threat. Drastic declines in regal fritillary populations have led to much concern about the butterfly’s future. Historically, the regal fritillary’s range extended from eastern Colorado to Maine. However, due to habitat loss and large-scale population declines, their range has been far reduced, especially in the east.”
The regal fritillary and especially its larva feed extensively on violets, a flower once wild in mid-America but today chiefly found in nurseries.
The use of fire has contributed to the reduced numbers of the regal fritillary. Once used by Native Americans and early settlers, fire has been cut back drastically. Today, fast growing but unmarketable or limited marketable species like cedar has replaced the slower growing species such as oak, hickory and ash.
Planned or prescribed burning is an attractive and widely used conservation tool among land managers today. The historic role that fire played in the prairie landscape is important and can be highly beneficial to many plant species. Prescribed burns have also become a popular low-cost alternative for removing woody vegetation on rural and agricultural lands. But there is also evidence that heavy fire management used on prairie lands can negatively affect the regal fritillary.
If a regal fritillary is seen in the wild in Arkansas, the finder is asked to write down the exact location, then phone the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission at 800-440-1477, 501-223-2300 or email [email protected] An alternate contact is the Fish and Wildlife Service’s Justin Shoemaker at 309-757-5800 ext. 214 or [email protected] Give exact Global Positioning System locations when possible.