Propagation of the Satyrodes eurydice and Satyrode appalachia as Surrogates for the Endangered Neonympha mitchelli mitchelli.
Because of anthropogenic changes to the Earth's landscape, species richness has been negatively impacted (Houlahan & Findlay, 1997, Gurd et al. 2001). The largest cause for a decrease in species richness is habitat loss, the process of making a habitat unable to support the species normally present. One such habitat is the prairie fen, wetland communities with a high pH, wet composition, cool temperatures, low decomposition rate of plants, and occur where cold, calcareous groundwater or aquifer fed springs reach the surface (Wilcox et al. 1986). One insect found in the disappearing prairie fen habitat is the endangered Neonymphamitchelli mitchelli (Mitchell's Satyr Butterfly (MSB)). This butterfly, once observed at 30 different sites, has only 11 populations left (Lee, 2000, A. Wick Pers. Comm. 2015). The United States Fish and Wildlife Service's MSB working group started using propagation and release ofthe MSB in order to introduce new populations and strengthen existing populations, a task necessary for the survival of the species. Before obtaining permits to raise MSBs, Satyrodes eurydice (eyed brown butterfly) and the Satyrodes appalachia (Appalachian brown butterfly) were raised at the Kalamazoo Nature Center as surrogate species in 2015 to test our methods and facilities. Butterflies were kept behind three levels of protection, a greenhouse, a screened-off room, and BugDorms or small tents containing host plants in self-watering pots, adults, and after adults, caterpillars. The purpose of this study was to raise as many caterpillars possible and discover flaws in our facilities and methods. During June, July and August of 2015, 140 eyed brown and Appalachian brown offspring were successfully propagated at the KNC's greenhouse. Our results are promising and in the future will help to obtain permits to raise MSB's.