Haddad Lab at NC State
Rare Animals
Nick Haddad

Photo by Randy Newman

Allison Leidner
Allison Leidner in Crystal Skipper habitat at Ft. Macon
Atrytonopsis new sp.1, aka "The Crystal Skipper"

Allison Leidner is spearheading research on the effects of urban development on the population structure and viability of this rare butterfly.  The Crystal Skipper occurs on a 30 mile stretch of the outer banks from Bare Island to Ft. Macon.  Its dune habitat measures around 100m wide, just past the beach and where its caterpillar's food plant, Seaside Little Bluestem, grows.  This, combined with increasing coastal development on dune habitat, makes this butterfly's range tiny.  It is not yet known whether this is a true species or subspecies.  Allison is using population, behavioral, and genetic studies to investigate whether increasing habitat fragmentation due to coastal development is reducing gene flow and population viability.

Our research on The Crystal Skipper is funded by NC SeaGrant and the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
© Nick Haddad