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As monarch butterflies journey north, gardeners can help protect species, researcher says
Date:5/10/2010

north out of Texas over the next six weeks and weather conditions throughout the northern breeding range over the remainder of the summer. Depending on these factors, the number of monarchs could stay steady, decline or increase compared to last year.

But gardeners can help the butterflies by planting milkweed and other monarch-friendly plants, Taylor said.

"We need the public to pitch in to save the monarch migration," said Taylor. "Without an effort to protect monarch habitats and restore milkweeds, this incredible migration will slowly fade away."

Taylor encourages gardeners, homeowners, schools, governments and businesses to plant monarch "way stations" consisting of milkweeds and other butterfly plants, in hopes that the dedicated habitats will sustain a threatened population during its migration.

"The size of the overwintering population last year was 1.92 hectares and, with a modest increase this summer, the population might get back to this number," Taylor said. "If the conditions for the rest of the summer are highly favorable, a winter population of 4 hectares is possible but that doesn't seem likely at this point. In any case, the winter population of 2010 is certain to be below the long-term average of 7.44 hectares."


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Contact: Brendan Lynch
blynch@ku.edu
785-864-8855
University of Kansas
Source:Eurekalert

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