In the shadow of giant war machines, a tiny rare butterfly is flourishing. Oddly, experts say, the U.S. military gets the credit.
The frosted elfin, which flutters along on a 1-inch (2.5 centimeters) wingspan, has found a home at several defense installations because of the way the military manages open spaces, said Robyn Niver, an endangered species biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
“Military training requires vast open areas, so these bases are some of our last great wild places,” Niver said.
The little brown butterfly has been confirmed at Westover Air Reserve Base and Camp Edwards in Massachusetts; Fort McCoy in Wisconsin; Fort Bragg in North Carolina; and the New Hampshire State Military Reservation, she said.
The common thread among the bases is the way they manage vegetation through controlled burns, which create the perfect conditions for wild blue lupine and indigo to grow, the frosted …