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Press Release 12-049

Early Spring Drives Butterfly Population Declines

"Ahead-of-time" snowmelt triggers chains of events in the Mormon Fritillary butterfly

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Photo of a Mormon Fritillary butterfly feeding on an aspen fleabane daisy.

A Mormon Fritillary butterfly feeding on an aspen fleabane daisy, a main nectar source.

Credit: Carol Boggs


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Photo of a researcher catching Mormon Fritillary butterflies in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.

A researcher catching Mormon Fritillary butterflies in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.

Credit: Carol Boggs


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Photo of Mormon Fritillary butterflies mating in the Rocky Mountains.

Mormon Fritillary butterflies mating in the Rocky Mountains: will this population survive?

Credit: National Park Service


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Photo of frost-killed bud of aspen fleabane daisy.

A frost-killed bud of aspen fleabane daisy; the frost damage means no nectar for butterflies.

Credit: David Inouye


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Photo of a Mormon Fritillary caterpillar on violet.

A Mormon Fritillary caterpillar on violet; plants in this genus are eaten by the caterpillars.

Credit: Carol Boggs


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Photo of a Mormon Fritillary caterpillar feeding on a leaf.

Last of the Mormon Fritillary butterflies? Early snowmelt may be to blame.

Credit: Carol Boggs


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