Monarch butterflies in trouble


This video is called Complete Life Cycle of the Monarch Butterfly.

From Wildlife Extra:

Monarch butterfly numbers decline again

Drought conditions and historic wildfires lead to more decline

March 2013. Bad news again for the Monarch butterfly: Drought conditions and historic wildfires the past few years continue to decrease their numbers as they wing across Texas this spring. Worse news: milkweed plants – the only kind they need to survive – are also not in plentiful supply, says a Texas A&M University Monarch watcher.

Craig Wilson, a senior research associate in the Center for Mathematics and Science Education and a longtime butterfly enthusiast, says reports coming from Mexico where the Monarchs have their breeding grounds show their numbers are significantly down, a disturbing trend during much of the past decade.

Wilson explains “The severe drought in Texas and much of the Southwest continues to wreak havoc with the number of Monarchs. The conditions have been dry both here and in Mexico in recent years. It takes four generations of the insects to make it all of the way up to Canada, and because of lack of milkweed along the way, a lot of them just don’t make it.”

Drought hampering milkweed food

The dry conditions and changing farming practices are hampering the growth of milkweed, the only type of plant the Monarch will digest as it makes its trip north. Texas has had dozens of wildfires in the past few years that have hampered milkweed growth, and even though there are more than 30 types of milkweed (Asclepiadaceae) in the state, the numbers are not there to sustain the Monarchs as they start their 2,000-mile migration trip to Canada. Increased use of pesticides is also adversely affecting milkweed production, he notes.

“But if people want to help, they can pick up some milkweed plants right now at local farmer’s cooperative stores,” he says, “and this would no doubt be a big boost to help in their migration journey.”

The Monarch reserves are in the Mexican state of Michoacan. It’s an area where tens of millions of Monarchs spend the winter and mate before heading north, Wilson points out.

“On a recent visit to the Monarch overwintering sites in Michoacan, former President Jimmy Carter said: ‘The Monarch butterfly unites the three countries of North America in peace.

It is an ambassador of peace which requires protected areas and ecosystems that are preserved through sustainable agricultural and forestry practices. We need to work together to maintain a healthy and balanced ecosystem for all North America,” Wilson adds.

“It is important to have a national priority of planting milkweed to assure there will be Monarchs in the future,” Wilson believes. “If we could get several states to collaborate, we might be able to provide a ‘feeding’ corridor right up to Canada for the Monarchs.”

Wilson is currently adding a variety of milkweed plants to the existing Cynthia Woods Mitchell Garden on the Texas A&M campus. He recommends the following sites for Monarch followers: Journey North, Texas Monarch Watch and Monarch Watch.

For more information about monarch butterflies and their migration, visit www.monarchwatch.org.

Nomads of the Wind and Other Wonders of the Butterfly World – Photographic Story of the Monarch Butterfly Migration. There is a great deal that we still do not know about the Monarch Butterfly, but this book presents the extent of our knowledge in stunning fashion. Many of the secrets of the extraordinary migration that the Monarchs make are yet to be unlocked … Read more here.

Setting the Table for a Regal Butterfly Comeback, With Milkweed: here.

15 thoughts on “Monarch butterflies in trouble

  1. Reblogged this on George L. Verge and commented:
    The decline of the monarch butterfly is yet another indication that we need to start addressing the various ecological challenges that our present lifestyle is influencing negatively.

    Like

  2. Pingback: Monsanto kills monarch butterflies | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. Pingback: Gardening for Butterflies in Round Rock – Stephen Brueggerhoff | Your Local Color

  4. Pingback: Monsanto’s Roundup killing monarch butterflies | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  5. Pingback: Orchids, dippers and tarantula in Costa Rica | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  6. Pingback: Monarch butterfly migration, new research | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  7. Pingback: Monarch butterfly migration starting in North America | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  8. Pingback: North-South America bird migration, transmitters research | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  9. Pingback: Monarch butterfly migration news | Dear Kitty. Some blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.