Strange Science: Butterflies That Thrive at Military Installations

Karner blue butterflyScientists have found that once-endangered butterfly species are thriving at military installations, and the explanation behind it is truly unexpected.

Historically, these butterflies were present in areas where roaming animals and intentional fires kept the plant life managed in such a way that the butterflies could thrive. As humans took over these areas, preventing both the roaming animals and intentional fires, the butterfly populations suffered, almost to the point of extinction.

On military bases, where simulated warfare changes the ecology of the area, these butterflies have begun to thrive again, in part because of the intentional fires that occur due to the wargames. Though the fire destroys a number of larva, it also causes the female butterflies to produce more larva, therefore allowing the species to rebound from its low numbers.

You can read much more about this process and the scientists studying it here.

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