Taylor’s checkerspot (Euphydryas editha taylori) Captive Rearing and Reintroduction: South Puget Sound, Washington, 2014-2015


Postdiapause larval Taylor’s checkerspots were released at two existing reintroduction sites in 2015: Training Area 7 South (TA7S; initiated 2014)) and Glacial Heritage Preserve (GHP; initiated in 2012). Monitoring for establishment continued at Scatter Creek South (SCS; initiated in 2007), Range 50 (R50; initiated in 2009), and Pacemaker (PCM; initiated in 2012). A total of 6,677 eggs were produced between the two rearing facilities with 11 percent (727) of eggs produced by known lineage captive-mated females and 89 percent (5,950) of eggs produced by wild females, collected from the Range 76 (R76) source site on Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM). At the Oregon Zoo, all eggs were produced by wild females. At Mission Creek, wild females laid 2,327 eggs or 55.0 percent of the eggs produced and captive-mated females produced 1,881 eggs or 45.0 percent. A total of 1,102 postdiapause larvae were released at TA7S on 3 March 2015 (1,027 in Plot C and 25 each in Survival plots 1, 2 and 3). On 24 February 2015, a total of 1,203 larvae were released at Glacial Heritage Preserve (1,111 in Plot I, 25 in Survival plot 1, 25 in Survival plot 2 and 25 in Survival plot 3). Additionally, 490 larvae from the Oregon Zoo were released on 12 March 2015 at Glacial Heritage Preserve in “Eric’s plots”. A total of 108 adult Taylor’s checkerspots (67 females and 41 males) were released at GHP from the Oregon Zoo on 6 May 2015. In addition, 61 adults (54 females and 7 males) from Mission Creek were released at GHP 29 May 2015. We used distance sampling to quantify daily population density, daily population size, and to illustrate the distribution of adults at the release sites and three other reintroduction sites, PCM, R50 and R76 (source site). A combined total of 5,119 adult checkerspots were counted across seven sites (R76, R50, SCS, PCM, GHP, TA7S and GHP Eric’s) during distance surveys in 2015. About 20 percent (998) more checkerspots were counted in standard monitoring areas in 2015 than in 2014 (Linders et al. 2014). Long-term monitoring and population goals developed in fall 2012 were used to assess progress at R50, which exceeded the target of 250 adults on a single day for the fourth (of a required five) consecutive year based solely on natural reproduction. Adults were distributed across the majority of the 22-ha monitoring area in 2015, touching the edges in all cardinal directions. At SCS, a peak single day count of 130 adults based solely on reproduction in 2015, suggests that site may exceed the 250/day target for the first time. Count data will be analyzed in winter 2016, but distance estimation typically leads to half of the butterflies present in the survey transect being counted. This report summarizes captive-rearing work conducted in May 2014-May 2015, and reintroduction work from July 2014-July 2015. The captive rearing section borrows heavily from annual reports produced by the Oregon Zoo (Lewis et al. 2015) and Mission Creek (Hamilton et al. 2015) programs.