(Nymphalidae) are a conspicuous component of the North American butterfly fauna. There are approximately 16 species and >100 associated subspecies (or geographical variants). Speyeria
are univoltine, occupy a wide range of habitats, overwinter as first instar larvae, and feed only on native violets. Speyeria
species have become a model group for studies of evolution, speciation, and conservation. Several species and subspecies are threatened or endangered. The reasons for this vary with the taxa involved, but always involve the degradation or loss of quality habitat for larvae and adults. The impacts of climate change must be considered among the causes for habitat degradation and in the establishment of conservation measures. In addition to increasing the available habitat, conservation efforts should consider maintaining habitat in a seral “disturbed” successional stage that selectively favors the growth of violets and preferred adult nectar sources. A major future challenge will be determining the most effective allocation of conservation resources to those species and subspecies that have the greatest potential to respond favorably to these efforts.
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