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In the shadow of giant war machines, a tiny rare butterfly is flourishing.The frosted elfin, which flutters along on a 2.5-centimeter 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.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 elfin caterpillar's two host plants.The hope is that what's learned about the populations of frosted elfins – and a whole host of other rare insects, birds, bats and turtles that thrive on military bases – can be applied outside the base gates.
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