Survey of the Butterflies of the Wah'Kon-Tah Prairie, Missouri.

G. N. Ross


The Wah'Kon-Tah Prairie Preserve is located in southwestern Missouri and is a remnant of the once extensive Tallgrass Prairie Ecosystem. The preserve consists of 2,332 acres (944 hectares) within the Osage Plains-Flint Hills Ecoregion of Missouri. The preserve is owned by The Nature Conservancy (Missouri Office) but managed by both the Conservancy and the Missouri Department of Conservation, El Dorado Springs Division. Between May and October 1998, the author live on the newly acquired Thoreson Ranch that linked the original Wah'Kon-Tah Prairie Preserve and Mo-Ko Prairie Preserve. Daily butterfly inventories were conducted and recorded weekly. The cumulative total of species observed was 74 (71 during this survey, 2 by others, and 1 by the author in 2002). Tallgrass Prairie management involving haying, burning, and tree removal as they affect butterflies in general and the regal fritillary (Speyeria idalia (Drury)) in particular are discussed. The possible role of micronutrients and/or phytochemicals procured through nectaring by regal fritillary butterflies is discussed. Selected photographs of habitat and the regal fritillary are included.


conservation; bison; burning; ecology; ecoregion; El Dorado Springs; fire; Flint Hills; grazing; haying; Great Plains; Konza Prairie Research Natural Area; maintenance; micronutrients; Midwest; Mo-Ko Prairie; Nearctic; North America; Osage Plains; phytochemicals; regal fritillary; Speyeria; Tallgrass Prairie; The Nature Conservancy; Thoreson Ranch

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