Captive rearing and translocation of Taylor’s checkerspot in south Puget Sound:2010-2011

The goal of this project is to establish new populations Taylor’s checkerspot in south Puget
Sound and reduce the likelihood of extinction. Funding was awarded to support captive rearing
and reintroduction of Taylor’s checkerspot in South Puget Sound, Washington in 2010-2011.
This is the sixth year of a multi-year recovery project; results to date for both captive rearing and
translocation portions of the project are summarized and include analyses of 2010 distance
sampling data for all reintroduction sites (SCS, R50, PCM, and SCN) as well as raw data for the
R76 source site. Observations of Taylor’s checkerspot captive mating, oviposition and hatching
success in 2008-2011 suggest that sunlight may be a key factor affecting success. Survival rates
for offspring of captive-bred females from egg to hatching in 2011 was low (44.7) relative to
those of wild females (90.0), although it is not clear whether this resulted from lack of natural
sunlight in the lab, poor viability of captive-bred females, or a combination of these. Survival
from hatching to postdiapause was similar for both groups, with survival in all life stages
exceeding 90.0 percent. Only postdiapause larvae from wild females were retained for rearing to
the adult stage in 2011. Translocation success has been generally favorable, although with
mixed results between years, apparently due to cool, wet and cloudy springs which have
persisted since 2008. As result of such conditions, postdiapause larvae released in 2009 and those
released at SCS in 2011 appear largely to have perished. Four reintroduction sites (SCS, R50,
PCM, and SCN) were monitored during the 2010 flight season and two (SCS and R50) were
monitored in 2011. The source site at R76 has been monitored annually since 2007, although
funding from JBLM to support this work is currently lacking. Numbers of adults at R50 and R76
in 2011 exceeded expectations, while those at SCS were well below expected levels. Potential
explanations for these results are complex but include climatic perturbations that differentially
affected the 2011 release at SCS compared to R50, differences in site management history,
especially fire, which may be affecting predator and parasite loads, and differences in overall site
condition related to soil type, soil moisture and other factors.