Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Iowa
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Szcodronski. Kimberly E., Diane M. Debinski, and Robert W. Klaver. 2018. Occupancy modeling of Paranassius clodius butterfly populations in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming. Journal of Insect Conservation 22:267-276.


Estimating occupancy patterns and identifying vegetation characteristics that influence the presence of butterfly species are essential approaches needed for determining how habitat changes may affect butterfly populations in the future. The montane butterfly species, Parnassius clodius, was investigated to identify patterns of occupancy relating to habitat variables in Grand Teton National Park and Bridger-Teton National Forest, Wyoming, United States. A series of presence–absence surveys were conducted in 2013 in 41 mesic to xeric montane meadows that were considered suitable habitat for P. clodius during their flight season (June–July) to estimate occupancy (ψ) and detection probability (p). According to the null constant parameter model, P. clodius had high occupancy of ψ = 0.78 ± 0.07 SE and detection probability of p = 0.75 ± 0.04 SE. In models testing covariates, the most important habitat indicator for the occupancy of P. clodius was a strong negative association with big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata; β = − 21.39 ± 21.10 SE) and lupine (Lupinus spp.; β = − 20.03 ± 21.24 SE). While P. clodius was found at a high proportion of meadows surveyed, the presence of A. tridentata may limit their distribution within montane meadows at a landscape scale because A. tridentata dominates a large percentage of the montane meadows in our study area. Future climate scenarios predicted for high elevations globally could cause habitat shifts and put populations of P. clodius and similar non-migratory butterfly populations at risk.