Celastrina Saison: beer, butterflies, and conservation

The Celastrina Project

Hops Blue Butterfly Conservation and Celastrina Saison

In 2011, Jeremy Siemers and I discovered a few populations of a rare Colorado endemic called the hops blue butterfly (Celastrina humulus). The host plant for this quarter-sized butterfly is wild hops (Humulus lupulus), and the U.S. Air Force Academy has creek drainages with an abundance of hops. Over a few malted beverages, Jeremy and I brainstormed how to develop funding to study this rare butterfly and the fruition was a collaboration with Odell Brewing Company (https://www.odellbrewing.com/) in Fort Collins, CO. In May 2013, Odell developed Celastrina Saison and is donating $1 for every bottle sold to CNHP to study the ecology of the butterfly. Cheers to conservation, creative collaborations, and Odell Brewing Company.

With Odell’s generous donation, CNHP started an undergraduate research program that allowed students to develop their own research with CNHP to address rare species in Colorado. That original donation was supplemented with a crowd-sourcing effort through CSU and other donors, and has been fostering undergraduate research since 2014. See Undergraduate Research Lab in Conservation (URLIC).

Female hops blue butterfly laying eggs on the male flowers of wild hops. Photograph by Michael Menefee.
Female hops blue butterfly with wings open. Photograph by Michael Menefee.
larva of hops blue butterfly with aphid below. Photograph by Tristan Kubik.
Hops blue larvae in A and B, with ants tending them in C and D.
Celestrina Saison