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Butterfly habitat needs help

Fyfe said Karner Blue butterflies lay eggs on the stems of wild blue lupine. When the eggs hatch, caterpillars eat the leaves and then form a cocoon on the plant.

Once the butterflies reach adulthood, they rely on wild blue lupine and other native plant life such as butterflyweed, dewberry and wild strawberry for nectar.

Besides the Karner Blue butterfly, 30 other species thrive in this area including the eastern spade foot toad, the frosted elfin and the eastern hog nosed snake.

Wild blue lupine, a small plant about 2 feet high with 10-foot roots that lives in sandy conditions because its roots grow straight down in search of water does require a lot of sun to live. The area maintained by the Saratoga State Park consists of low grassy fields, which allow lupine and other plants favored by butterflies to grow. The Saratoga Sand Plain was formed from a glacial lake that covered the region during the last Ice Age. When the lake drained, it left behind sandy soil, which supports the ecosystem of the Albany Pine Bush and some areas of the Saratoga State Park.

Fyfe said community members could help by planting wild blue lupine and not things that hinder the growth of native plants.

Reena Kondo from Saratoga said she would like to see a corridor from Albany through Saratoga. A lot of species need corridors to spread and grow in population, she said.

For information about the Karner Blue butterfly and ways to save its environment visit the Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission Web site www. albanypinebush.org.""

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