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The Vanishing Present: Wisconsin's Changing Lands, Waters, and Wildlife$
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Donald M. Waller and Thomas P. Rooney

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780226871714

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: February 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226871745.001.0001

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Changes in the Butterfly and Moth Fauna

Changes in the Butterfly and Moth Fauna

(p.339) 23 Changes in the Butterfly and Moth Fauna
The Vanishing Present: Wisconsin's Changing Lands, Waters, and Wildlife

Les Ferge

University of Chicago Press

This chapter explores what is known about and what is likely happening to Wisconsin's moths and butterflies. Many species of Lepidoptera can serve as extraordinarily sensitive indicators of environmental change, given the dependence of many species on a single host plant and habitat type. Many of these plants and habitats are threatened, reduced to small isolated populations and remnants. Invasive, nonnative plants now occupy large areas of native habitat and threaten areas rich in butterflies and moths. Outbreaks of, and efforts to suppress, pest insects, both native and introduced, could affect many native species. Extreme weather conditions also take their toll. Excessive rainfall promotes the spread of fungal, bacterial, and viral diseases, while drought can reduce larval host plants or the density of nectar flowers. Large-scale climatic changes associated with global warming could have both positive and negative effects on native Lepidoptera populations.

Keywords:   moths, butterflies, Lepidoptera populations, environmental change, pest insects, native species, extreme weather, climatic changes

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