Tag: monarch butterfly

California | Monarch Butterflies now rarer than Starbucks

We’ve posted several times about the plummeting numbers of Monarch Butterflies. Once an abundant species that wintered in vast numbers in Mexican pine forests (check out nature documentaries from just a decade ago that showed whole trees weighed down with hibernating Monarchs), the two populations (western and eastern, divided by the Rockies) are vanishing in an extinction reminiscent of the Passenger Pigeon or Buffalo. Once such an integral part of the landscape, literally billions of Monarchs were found right across North America. In 2020 the western Monarch was thought to be functionally extinct, and according to recent estimates just 2000 overwintering western Monarchs were counted this year. Eastern Monarchs are headed in the same direction and have declined by more than 80% over the past two decades. Most of us will have seen Monarchs at some point, or seen videos of them shimmering in shards of sunlight. It’s an incredibly depressing thought that if you haven’t and you want to, you really don’t have much time left…

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Monarch Butterflies prefer pesticide-free milkweed

Monarch Butterflies, famed for their long-distance migration, depend on finding the only food their caterpillars feed on: the Milkweed, a wildflower of fields, wetlands, and prairies. Milkweeds are not only the foodplant of Monarch caterpillars, they protect them too. Chemicals within the plant are stored in the caterpillars strikingly bright body which make them distasteful to predators. Researchers have now concluded that Monarchs prefer their larval food to be pesticide-free. As a rhetorical question that asks the absolutely bleeding obvious, ‘Do butterflies prefer not to be poisoned?‘ should be right up there with ‘Is the Pope Catholic?’ and ‘Do bears cr*p in the woods?’…

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