Friends of Hackmatack

Biology of Hackmatack
MonarchClosely associated with the native prairies, wetlands, and oak communities of the bi-state region are an easily recognized group of species called Lepidoptera or, as most of us know them, butterflies and moths.

Biologists studying the quality of remaining natural lands in our part of the Midwest often turn to this group for clues as to how healthy those ecosystems may be.  

Butterflies have relatively quick life cycles with a new generation produced each year (in the case of some species, two generations). This swift reproductive cycle makes butterflies particularly susceptible over time to changes in their habitat. Because the caterpillars or larva of most butterfly species will only feed on particular types of plant species, they also respond quickly to loss of plant diversity within their habitats. Declines in overall butterfly numbers or losses of those species which are dependent on remaining native plant communities like prairies are both warning signs that other species groups, like mammals or birds, may be next in line for declining numbers.  

The bi-state region is home to some of the most diverse butterfly assemblages in the upper Midwest, including:
Click on name of each for a link to detailed information on the Website
Banded Hairstreak Banded Hairstreak  
Luna Moth Luna Moth  
Silvery Blue Silvery blue  
Acadian Hairstreak Acadian Hairstreak  
Aphrodite fritillary Aphrodite Fritillary  
Dion Skipper Dion Skipper 
You'll find more information about butterflies in this region on Fermilab's Website
Learn about some of the other species that reside in the bi-state area! Click on these links to continue:  Birds, Fish and Mussels, Mammals, Reptiles and Amphibians, Plants, and Trees
Science of Hackmatack Home
 Photos courtesy of Wikimedia Commons and Tom Peterson of Fermilab