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Regal Fritillary Butterfly Habitat at Fort Indiantown Gap

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The rare regal fritillary butterfly has made its home at Fort Indiantown Gap (FTIG) for decades and it is the only population in the eastern United States.

The perseverance of the regal at FTIG is more than coincidence – the active military regime on the installation, in combination with calculated land management from conservation staff, provides the right amount of disturbance for early-successional grassland habitat. As a grassland-endemic species, the eastern regal fritillary has persisted at FTIG by taking advantage of its mosaic of warm-season bunch grasses and both larval and adult host plants.

In the mid-1990s, the regal and its declining numbers began to receive more public and scientific attention. Since then, biologists at FTIG have been working to develop conservation plans and implement management strategies to monitor the existing population and, as a long-term goal, expand its current range through reintroduction efforts. Since 2011, FTIG has partnered with ZooAmerica North American Wildlife Park to develop a captive rearing program for the eastern regal fritillary.