Rep. Toohil Introduces Bill To Name Regal Fritillary The State Butterfly To Honor Fallen Veterans At Fort Indiantown Gap

Rep. Tarah Toohil (R-Luzerne) has introduced  House Bill 1844 (Toohil-R-Luzerne) designating the Regal Fritillary butterfly as the official state butterfly of the Commonwealth (sponsor summary).

“It is well known that the butterfly has been a symbol of life and death for centuries. In Pennsylvania, the Regal Fritillary Butterfly can only be found at Fort Indiantown Gap [in Lebanon County] because of the unique habitat,” said Rep. Toohill.  “Establishing this butterfly as the official butterfly of Pennsylvania would be a great way to honor our fallen heroes, as it can only be found in Pennsylvania at their place of rest.

“We are hopeful that we can get other state representatives to engage the youth in their community to learn the process of how a bill becomes a law, learn about the uniqueness of this particular butterfly and use the process as a way to honor our veterans,” added Rep. Toohil.


219 acres of the Fort Indiantown Gap Training Areas and Ranges have been set aside at FIG to conduct research on Regal habitat. In addition over 75 acres of dispersal corridor (among research areas) has been created.

All regal-occupied habitat is on an active or inactive military range.  Habitat is created and maintained by repeated, frequent soil disturbance (which can mean tanks), patchy fires, and stewardship efforts that create a diverse grassland dominated by native herbaceous vegetation.

The Gap has the largest population of this species remaining east of Indiana, a second population occurs at Radford Army Ammunition Plant in Virginia. It is also the largest documented population on a single landholding in North America.

The population of Regal Fritillary is around 1,000 adults and has been secure since monitoring started in 1998

A five-year (2002-2006) habitat management plan was initially prepared for the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, Fort Indiantown Gap Environmental Section by the Nature Conservancy of Pennsylvania and the Fort Indiantown Gap Office as part of the Integrated Natural Resources Management Plan for the Gap.

In 2006, PA Chapter of The Nature Conservancy transferred the research and monitoring efforts to Pennsylvania State University.

One of the ongoing projects is repatriation of Regal Fritillary at the Gettysburg National Military Park and selected State Parks funded by Legacy Program of the U.S. Department of Defense and DCNR’s Wild Resource Conservation Program.

Click Here to watch a video story about the Regal Fritillary at Fort Indiantown Gap by StateImpact PA.

Click Here for a factsheet on the Regal Fritillary from the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.  Click Here for more background from the PA Natural Heritage Program.

Visit the Fort Indiantown Gap Regal Fritillary Butterfly Habitat webpage for more information.


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[Posted: September 22, 2019]


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