“This study helps reaffirm Oklahoma as a southern periphery state for the species,” Howery said. “Regal fritillaries have previously been documented in five northeastern Oklahoma counties, but there’s no evidence that Oklahoma supports a breeding population outside of the Flint Hills of Osage County. Most of Oklahoma’s historic records are likely to be of vagrant individuals originating from prairies in Kansas and Missouri.”
In addition to recording the presence and absence of regal fritillaries and the occurrence of its host plants, the survey team also recorded the presence of five other rare prairie butterfly species, including the Diana fritillary, great spangled fritillary, and Arogos skipper, as well as the familiar monarch, which is a species that appears to be in decline. In total, 489 individual butterflies of seven species were documented during the study.