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Archive for Thursday, March 25, 2010

At least 50% of monarch butterfly population lost to bad weather

March 25, 2010

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Bad news has turned to worse for an already suffering monarch butterfly population.

Near the butterflies’ over-wintering sites, storms in Angangueo, Mexico, have decimated an already low monarch population suffering the effects of last year’s poor weather.

Butterfly population dwindles

The monarch butterfly population spends winter in Mexico, but storms there have killed many of the insects. Enlarge video

That will mean significantly fewer monarchs flying through areas like Lawrence, said Chip Taylor, director of Kansas University’s Monarch Watch program and a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology.

Taylor has led monarch-tagging efforts in the city and beyond during the monarchs’ peak fall migration — typically around mid-September in Lawrence.

“The bottom line is, we’ve lost at least 50 percent of the population — at least,” Taylor said. “My concern is we’ve lost much more than that.”

As rain and mudslides have made transportation in the monarchs’ winter habitat difficult, accurate counts are hard to come by.

Taylor said it will take several consecutive seasons with favorable conditions for the butterflies to begin replenishing their numbers.

“It’s going to take two good years in a row to bring this population back,” he said. “That means a good spring, a good summer, a good winter and a good fall.”

Comments

Eric Gruber 4 years, 7 months ago

You can learn more about Monarch Watch at its web site: http://monarchwatch.org.

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HOMETOWNBOY 4 years, 7 months ago

Does this mean that some of the less desirable insects may also have been effected by bad weather? Maybe the bug population will be down as well?

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gatekeeper 4 years, 7 months ago

HOMETOWNBOY (anonymous) says… Does this mean that some of the less desirable insects may also have been effected by bad weather? Maybe the bug population will be down as well? ///////////////

Unfortunately, no. The monarchs had a bad winter in Mexico. Most of the pests you're talking about don't migrate like monarchs. The weather we have here affects them. I am already seeing mosquitos, so I have a feeling it's going to be a bad year for them.

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nobody1793 4 years, 7 months ago

I'm worried about the honeybees.

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mr_right_wing 4 years, 7 months ago

By "bad weather" do you mean a colder and snowier winter than usual? The same "bad weather" that effected tomato crops? Global warming; we need it NOW! Pump more c02 in the air to save the monarchs and tomatoes!! Environmental zealots are killing tomatoes and butterflies. Shame on you, disgraceful people.

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