Monday, December 9, 2013

Are Monarch Butterfly Populations Collapsing?

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In case you missed it, check out this article from the Sunday New York Times on the collapse of the monarch butterfly.  The population seems to be on a serious tailspin.  The author of the article ties it to the heavy use of herbicides and pesticides as well as land use change.  It also highlights how insect population overall is on the decline in some areas.

But, there is also a big debate going on in the monarch butterfly research world as to whether or not the monarchs are true navigators or whether they are taking advantage of prevailing winds and travel in straight lines.  Read all about that debate here.  The trigger for migrating north and south?  Temperature.  Read all about the temperature issue here.  This book chapter has a very nice review of conservation challenges for butterflies.  It is not looking good for these fragile insects. The populations of many species are on the decline, habitat is being lost, and the range of the insects is getting smaller.

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