The primary goal of my dissertation research was to learn how disturbance-sensitive butterfly species can persist in disturbance-dependent prairie ecosystems. I conducted three studies, all at the same four tallgrass prairies in southwestern Missouri. In Chapter 1, I examine the effects of habitat structure, butterfly species, and butterfly size on butterfly detectability, and the corresponding role of distance sampling in generating better estimates of abundance. In Chapter 2, I examine nectar use and nectar source selectivity of tallgrass prairie butterflies. In Chapter 3, I examine the effects of time since fire, grazing and sampling period on the abundance of Speyeria idalia (an imperiled butterfly) and its nectar sources. Each prairie had two pastures: one rotationally burned and grazed by cattle (also known as pyric herbivory), and one rotationally burned but not stocked with cattle. Butterfly population density and floral resource availability were assessed in early June, late June, and late July of 20.