Date of Award

1995

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Natural Resources

Department

Natural Resources Science

First Advisor

Peter August

Abstract

The bog copper butterfly (Lycaena epixanthe) (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae) inhabits patchily distributed open peatlands throughout the northeastern United States and southeastern Canada. To examine the relationship between habitat patch geometry and occupancy by L. epixanthe in southern Rhode Island, I surveyed 37 apparently suitable bogs and fens for adult butterflies, and measured various aspects of habitat quality related to patch size and isolation. Host plant patch size, size of the nearest occupied host plant patch, and distance to the nearest occupied host plant patch contributed significantly to the discrimination of occupied from unoccupied sites. During the two-year study period, I recorded deterministic and stochastic extinctions as well as colonizations of vacant patches; these observations suggest a metapopulation structure for L. epixanthe in the study area.

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