Monarch butterflies headed for extinction


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/01/07/monarch-butterflies-headed-for.html


#2

#3

If you’re an American with a garden, here’s a site with useful resources and suggestions for making that garden more friendly to monarch butterflies (and butterflies in general): https://monarchbutterflygarden.net/


#4

I arrived in California in 1976, this was a sight to be hold, especially on shrooms.


#5

My guess is that there will be hundreds of thousands of species that go extinct in the next century. While humans won’t be among them, there will likely be a SIGNIFICANTLY smaller number of humans left to enjoy the cockroaches and rats that will definitely be flourishing.


#6

I’m sure we’ll figure out some way to paint moths’ wings in monarch colors, so we can continue to enjoy something like these beautiful creatures in the future.


#7

as long as we still have hot sauce I will be willing to enjoy them!

wait, did I admit that too soon?


#8

“Oh, man, butterfly chips … I don’t think there’s nothin’ in dis world dat tastes as good as butterfly chips … Yep, munch munch, these chips is fast becomin’ our national snack … ? … Yuck.”

(Cartoon by Vaughn Bode)


#9

Don’t worry. They wintering in many other places besides California.


#10

As humans go, so do the cockroaches.


#11

This is just anecdote based on faulty memory, but growing up in California, I remember there being tons of monarchs every season. Now I’m super excited when I manage to see a single one.


#12

IIRC, aren’t there multiple groups of Monarchs, they don’t all go to CA. IIRC some go to Mexico.


#13

You might be surprised to know that the monarch butterflies ignore the border, wall or not.


#14

Nooooooooo! Save the monarchs (and all butterflies)!


#15

And how well are those populations doing?

Recently a study showed how insects had almost disappeared in a national park in Puerto Rico. In Germany there has been major declines. Our statistics is spotty because there are few places where people keep track on number of insects, but it seems to be a global decline. If you have a car, do you have to clean your windshield as much now as you did 30 years ago?


#16

Seems appropriate to post:

Note Xerces is also mentioned in the article

Also, note that the Western monarch population overwinters in California,while the Eastern Monarch population overwinters in the Sierra Madres. It would be premature to confuse the two.


#17

Not many, no. A handful of small spots in Mexico, the southern half of Florida, plus California and Baja California, that’s it.

East of the Rocky Mountains, they migrate south to Mexico (or in the southeast, Florida). West of the Rockies, they mostly winter in California, with a few going to Western Mexico.

In the Northeast, I used to see monarchs every single summer and had great fun as a kid feeding the caterpillars and watching them pupate and eventually emerge as adults. It’s been ages since I saw any. So the decline is happening in the East too.

IIRC, In the Northeast and Midwest, one big factor in their population decline has been farmers herbiciding every square inch of their fields, instead of leaving a fallow fenceline along the edge of their property, where weeds could thrive, as used to be common. “Roundup Ready” crops in particular encourage farmers to turn their fields into sterile moonscapes from edge to edge, where nothing other than the planted crop can live. Less weeds at the edges of fields = less milkweed = less Monarch caterpillar food. The eastern wintering spots in Mexico have also been shrinking due to development, IIRC, so the poor things are being pressured at both ends.


#18

Damn it, beat to the punch.


#19

Well, they can fly, so…


#20

The last couple of years, our county (Washtenaw in Michigan) has been running a campaign to encourage growing milkweed in residential gardens. People are growing it, and it seems like our backyard sightings increased last summer over the previous couple years.