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Old 10-18-2014, 12:17 AM   #1
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Default Butterfly populations connect ,important for survival

Butterflies rely on connections amid changing climate
Oct 16, 2014 by Kat Kerlin

Butterflies rely on connections amid changing climate

The alpine butterfly lives in high-altitude meadows of the Rocky Mountains. The study focused on a network of them living along three ridge tops in Alberta, Canada. The butterflies' lives revolve around access to their host plants, the lanceleaf stonecrop and ledge stonecrop. Mother butterflies lay their eggs near these plants, where the larvae overwinter. A certain amount of snow cover is required to regulate the eggs' temperature before hatching.
But in the winter of 2003, the amount of snow needed didn't come. The population crashed, losing more than 60 percent of its members.
Here's where things could have gotten very bad for this population of alpine butterfly. But it didn't, at least not for the long term. Enough patches of butterfly activity remained that could easily connect with each other. This allowed the population to rebound with their genetic diversity mostly intact, according to the study published this week in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society.
"Half Earth Quest" Edward O. Wilson
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