Navigation Links
Monarch butterflies down again this year as decline continues, says Texas A&M expert
Date:3/21/2012

COLLEGE STATION, March 21, 2012 Unlike their colorful wings, the future of Monarch butterflies may not be too bright and their numbers are expected to be alarmingly down again this year, says a Texas A&M University researcher.

Craig Wilson, a senior research associate in the Center for Mathematics and Science Education and a long-time butterfly enthusiast, says reports by the World Wildlife Fund, private donors and Mexico's Michoacan state show that Monarch numbers will be down almost 30 percent in 2012 as they make their annual trek from their breeding grounds in Mexico and move across Texas.

The figures show an alarming decades-long decline in their numbers, Wilson says, adding that it is best "that we take the long view rather than yearly cycles.

"The latest information shows that Monarchs will be down from 25 to 30 percent this year, and that has been part of a disturbing trend the last few years," Wilson notes.

"Last year's severe drought and fires in the region no doubt played a part, resulting in less nectar for the Monarchs as they migrated south. But estimates show that each year, millions of acres of land are being lost that would support Monarchs, either by farmers converting dormant land for crop use mainly to herbicide tolerant corn and soybeans or the overuse of herbicides and mowing. Milkweed is the key plant because it's the only plant where the female will lay her eggs."

The loss of such lands is a critical factor in the Monarchs' survival, Wilson explains.

"Chip Taylor, who is the director of Monarch Watch at the University of Kansas, estimates that 100 million acres of land have already been lost that previously supported Monarchs," Wilson notes.

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

In the spring, the butterflies leave Mexico and across Texas, and Wilson has noticed both eggs and young Monarch caterpillars feeding on milkweed in the Monarch Waystation, a butterfly garden outside his office. The adults will fly various routes through Texas, with the fourth generation eventually arriving in Canada.

This year, according to the Texas Monarch Watch, Monarchs covered about 7.14 acres of forest in their Mexican breeding grounds compared to 9.9 acres last year, and it shows a continued long-term downward trend in Monarch population since official surveys began in 1994.

Wilson says there has to be a national effort to save Monarchs or their declining numbers will reach the critical stage.

"We need a national priority of planting milkweed to assure there will be Monarchs in the future," he says. "If we could get several states to collaborate, we might be able to promote a program where the north-south interstates were planted with milkweed, such as Lady Bird Johnson's program to plant native seeds along Texas highways 35-40 years ago. This would provide a 'feeding' corridor right up to Canada for the Monarchs."


'/>"/>

Contact: Keith Randall
keith-randall@tamu.edu
979-845-4644
Texas A&M University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. As monarch butterflies journey north, gardeners can help protect species, researcher says
2. U of G research reveals how monarchs fly away home
3. Study finds monarch butterflies use medicinal plants to treat offspring for disease
4. Study reveals how monarch butterflies recolonize northern breeding range
5. Hind wings help butterflies make swift turns to evade predators, study finds
6. Now butterflies are also being counted in China, Australia and Israel
7. From butterflies wings to bank notes -- how natures colors could cut bank fraud
8. Butterflies shed light on how some species respond to global warming
9. Wildflower colors tell butterflies how to do their jobs
10. No safety in numbers for moths and butterflies
11. Research reveals how butterflies copy their neighbors to fool birds
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/11/2017)... BROOKLYN, N.Y. , April 11, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ ... identical fingerprints, but researchers at the New York ... University College of Engineering have found that partial ... fingerprint-based security systems used in mobile phones and ... previously thought. The vulnerability lies in ...
(Date:4/5/2017)... YORK , April 5, 2017 Today ... is announcing that the server component of the HYPR ... known for providing the end-to-end security architecture that empowers ... HYPR has already secured over 15 million ... makers including manufacturers of connected home product suites and ...
(Date:3/30/2017)... -- On April 6-7, 2017, Sequencing.com will host the world,s ... at Microsoft,s headquarters in Redmond, Washington ... health and wellness apps that provide a unique, personalized ... is the first hackathon for personal genomics and the ... the genomics, tech and health industries are sending teams ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)...  VMS BioMarketing, a leading provider of patient support solutions, ... Educator (CNE) network, which will launch this week. The VMS ... care professionals to enhance the patient care experience by delivering ... health care professionals to help women who have been diagnosed ... ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... Disappearing forests and increased emissions are ... 5.5 million people each year. Especially those living in larger cities are affected by ... in one of the most pollution-affected countries globally - decided to take action. , ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... ... has granted orphan drug designation to SBT-100, its novel anti-STAT3 (Signal Transducer and ... of osteosarcoma. SBT-100 is able to cross the cell membrane and bind intracellular ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 10, ... ... development-stage cancer-focused pharmaceutical company advancing targeted antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) therapeutics, today confirmed ... targeted HPLN (Hybrid Polymerized Liposomal Nanoparticle), a technology developed in collaboration with ...
Breaking Biology Technology: