Please update your web browser or disable Compatibility View.

Butterflies

One of the members of the ecosystem that make the beautiful and wide array of prairie flowers possible are butterflies. As a taxonomical order, Lepidoptera, feed primarily on nectar. As with their cousins insects, Hymenoptera, or bees, they are avid pollinators as they travel from plant to plant seeking nectar from the plants. 

In 1995, a study was started at Saint John's Abbey Arboretum to compare the species diversity on the restored prairie and a virgin prairie that has escaped the agricultural transition. This prairie remnant is an excellent control to see how the restoration project is progressing. The virgin prairie is a Nature Conservancy site in Roscoe, MN located approximately 16 miles southeast of Saint John's.

There have been many helpful insights that this study has provided the Abbey Arboretum with already. Primarily, it has shown how fire, although an excellent means of prairie maintenance in nature, can be detrimental to the insects that are over wintering on the dead stalks of grass. By making this observation, the prairie has been divided into multiple parts which are burned in a three year cycle.

Below is a listing of several butterflies found at Roscoe prairie, Saint John's Abbey Arboretum prairie, and on the SJU inner campus during the early years of Saint John's prairie restoration.

 

Species Roscoe 1995 Roscoe 1999 Roscoe 2000 SJU Prairie 1995 SJU Prairie 1999 SJU Prairie 2000 SJU Prairie 2001 SJU Inner Campus 1999 SJU Inner Campus 2000 SJU Inner Campus 2001

American Copper

*

*

*

American Painted Lady

*

*

*

*

* *

American Snout

*

Arctic Skipper

*

*

*

Black Swallowtail+

*

*

*

*

* *

Bronze Copper

*

*

*

*

Buckeye

*

*

*

*

*

*

Cabbage White

*

*

*

*

Checkered White

* *

Common Branded Skipper

*

*

Common Checkered Skipper

*

*

*

Common Sootywing

*

Common Wood Nymph

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

Dark Wood Nymph

*

*

*

Dusky Azure

*

*

Dusky Skipper

*

Dwarf Yellow

*

Eastern Comma

*

*

*

Eastern Tailed Blue

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

Eyed Brown

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

Gorgone Checkerspot

*

Gray Copper

*

*

Gray Hairstreak

*

Great Spangled Fritillary+

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

Juvenal's Duskywing

*

*

*

Least Skipperling

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

Long Dash

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

Meadow Fritillary

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

Milbert's Tortoiseshell

*

*

*

Monarch

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

Mourning Cloak

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

Mustard White

*

*

*

*

*
Northern Crescent * *

Northern Pearly Eye

*

*

*

Northwest Ringlet

*

*

Painted Lady

* *

Pearl Crescent

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

Powersheik Skipperling

*

*

*

Prairie Ringlet

*

*

*

*

*

*

Purplish Copper

*

Question Mark

*

*

*

*

*

Red-spotted Purple

Red Admiral+

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

Regal Fritillary

*

*

Silver-bordered Fritillary

*

Silvery Blue

*

*

*

*

*

Silver Spotted Skipper

*

*

Spring Azure

*

*

*

*

*

*

Sulphur

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

Tawny-edged Skipper

Tiger Swallowtail

*

*

*

*

*

*

Variegated Fritillary

*

*

Viceroy

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

White Admiral

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

Yellow Patch Skipper

*

*

*

Species number

22

21

14

26

25

27

40

28

20

20