Monarch butterflies flying in space

This video is from when the monarchs on the ISS were still caterpillars.

From in the USA:

The first-ever Monarch butterflies in space have taken flight on the international space station to the delight of astronauts aboard. …

The Monarch butterflies are the first ever sent to space. They began emerging just days after several Painted Lady butterflies began emerging from their own cocoons in a separate enclosure.

The Monarch and Painted Lady butterflies arrived at the station as catepillars last month on the space shuttle Atlantis as part of an educational experiment. And while butterfly larvae have been sent to space before, the colorful insects on the space station now are the first to successfully go through all phases of their development — from larva to pupa to adult butterfly — in orbit. …

At least one difference between space Monarch butterflies and their terrestrial counterparts has already been revealed. On Earth, the wings of a newly-emerged Monarch butterfly can take anywhere between three and five minutes to dry. But aboard the space station, it took about 15 minutes. …

Because of the cramped quarters, the Monarch butterflies — which began emerging Nov. 30 — were only expected to live about four days, instead of the two weeks they would survive on Earth, NASA officials said. The space Painted Lady butterflies, meanwhile, are expected to live about a week, about half what they would on Earth.

The butterflies are not the first critters to live among the human crew of the International Space Station. Two orb weaving spiders managed to spin wild webs in weightlessness last year, with astronauts checking in on them from time to time.

Monarch Butterflies Reveal a Novel Way in Which Animals Sense Earth’s Magnetic Field: here.

Monarch butterfly numbers hit all time low: here.

Monarch butterfly crash: due to U.S. farms & suburbs, not just Mexican Habitat loss: here.

Monarch butterflies use medicinal plants to treat offspring for disease: study: here.

Thousands of monarch butterflies to arrive at St Marks Refuge, FL, in Oct. Experience monarch magic on Oct 23: here.

Fears grow for future of Britain’s rarest butterflies: here.

June 2011. The Forestry Commission has linked up with Butterfly Conservation to lure one of Yorkshire’s rarest butterflies back to a former haunt. The striking yellow and brown flecked Duke of Burgundy (Hamearis lucina) survives at only a handful of places in the north: here.

Dutch butterflies, 19 April 2010: here.

The end of the US space shuttle program: here.

18 thoughts on “Monarch butterflies flying in space

  1. Have you ever looked out into your backyard and noticed a monarch butterfly quietly alighting on a flower? I’m sure you found it not only beautiful and peaceful, but also rewarding to watch as this striking creature benefited from your garden.

    But unfortunately, monarchs are experiencing one of their worst years on record. And if they don’t receive help from friends like you, it may take years for their numbers to recover.

    Create a Certified Wildlife Habitat™ site today,
    and help monarch butterflies!

    Due to extreme weather in their winter habitat, as many
    as half the monarch population died this year. If that
    wasn’t enough, these butterflies are also facing a triple
    threat of habitat loss, climate change and non-native plant
    species overrunning milkweed — the only “host plant “eaten
    by their caterpillars.

    There is good news! When you turn your yard into an official Certified Wildlife Habitat™ site, you’ll be helping to ensure these beautiful butterflies — and so many other wildlife — always have a place to eat, drink and rest. Plus, you’ll receive many tangible benefits as well! (see right) Getting started is easy, and we’ll show you how!

    Here are a few simple ideas to help attract all kinds of butterflies (as well as birds and other wildlife too!):

    * Plant native, colorful flowering plants to provide nectar
    * Provide a shallow water dish as a place to get a drink
    * Include milkweed host plants to serve as larval, or caterpillar, food
    * Offer dense shrubs to provide shelter

    It’s a great feeling to know wildlife are benefiting from your garden and your generosity. You can be part of the solution to help monarchs recover, and create a striking garden at the same time. Certify today!


    David Mizejewski
    NWF Naturalist, Media
    Spokesperson, Author


  2. Rare butterflies flourish in the sun

    Thursday 19 April 2012

    Britain’s rarest butterflies are on the rise again thanks to record-breaking weather last spring, conservation experts said on Thursday.

    Butterfly Conservation head of monitoring Dr Tom Brereton said: “The great spring weather provided respite for our beleaguered butterflies but wide-ranging conservation efforts are needed to reverse long-term declines.”

    The Duke of Burgundy butterfly, which has suffered recent declines, saw its population rise 65 per cent between 2010 and 2011 thanks to the hot, dry weather.

    Other rare butterflies to flourish were the Grizzled Skipper, which saw a 96 per cent rise, and the Pearl-bordered Fritillary, whose population rose by 103 per cent.


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