Dear Save the Pine Bush:
I know the Karner Blue feeds on wild lupine, can any of your
biologists or naturalists tell me if it feeds on domestic lupine?
Has domestic lupine ever been planted as an experiment to see
what would happen?
Dear Faithful Reader:
As far as I know, the Karner Blue is very picky in what it will
eat. It only feeds on the blue lupine that grows in the Pine
Bush; it will not eat domestic blue lupine. I do not know if
any experiments have been done with domestic blue lupine.
Actually, the Karner Blue butterfly does not eat. It is only
the caterpillar that eats. During the adult stage, the butterfly
will drink the nectar of the flower of the blue lupine or other
flowers that are in bloom. The adult female butterfly will lay
eggs only on the blue lupine.
The blue lupine that grows wild in the Pine Bush is very difficult
to cultivate. State College at Cobleskill students were experimenting
with planting wild blue lupine from seeds, but, I believe had
very little luck in getting any of the plants to grow. Before
the City of Albany bulldozed a prime Karner Blue habitat for
the landfill extension, they transplanted the blue lupine from
the site, and I heard that all the plants died.
Dr. Peter Spoor, who has been researching the Karner Blue for
about three or four years, reported at a Save the Pine Bush
dinner a couple of months ago that he has been trying to grow
blue lupine. He has had limited success. But, he is going to
try again by planting the seeds in the fall.