Situation dire for Monarch butterfly


#1

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#3

Curse you, Venture!


#4

A former neighbor had milkweed growing under his deck at one point. I thought it needed more sun, but that speaks to how easy it is to grow.

Although really a weed is just any plant that grows where you don’t want it to so I have milkPLANT growing in my yard.


#5

Hmm, I just read something that indicated that efforts by farmers to add milkweed was causing a huge bounce-back in the monarch population, so the situation wasn’t as dire as previously. That may have just been Western monarchs, though.
Also:
DO NOT “PLANT MILKWEEDS.” PLANT NATIVE MILKWEEDS. I see local plant sellers advocating planting milkweeds while offering non-native plants - this is worse than doing nothing. Non-native milkweeds can grow at the wrong time of year relative to native varieties, which keeps monarchs around when they should be someplace else, which ultimately dooms them. They’re essentially deadly monarch-traps. (Not traps of the deadly Monarch.) So make sure the milkweed you plant is native to your area.


#6

Looks like we can blame Uncle Hatred more-so than Venture himself. After destroying their habitat we’re left with just three specimens left in New Jersey.


#7

A molecular biologist from Toronto told me there is an underground effort to genetically engineer milkweed to be resistant to Roundup. Sounds like they need to step up the pace, and maybe get some competition.


#8

Does wild lettuce work or are caterpillars uninterested in that particular latexy goodness?


#9

Free milkweed seeds (free with SASE or $3 for shipping).


#10

They seem to be doing all right here in Hawaii… not sure how since we don’t have milkweed or seasons (and they’re migratory?). Then again everything seems to flourish here except for native species.


#11

Monarch larvae only eat milkweed (or a few very, very similar plants). The adults eat nectar/pollen of various plants.

In Hawaii they apparently eat introduced “tropical milkweed” and “giant milkweed,” aka “crown flower,” which apparently suffices even though it doesn’t seem to be a true milkweed. Migration is a lot less important when they’re not in danger of freezing to death at any point…


#12

I looked it up and I realized I have asclepias tuberosa in my yard so I guess I’ve already done my part :slight_smile:


#13

Nice note. Looks like I have to go to my local Monarchist and find what’s what, how it plants, and how to stop people huffing glyphosate near me.

There was that nice report from Mexico where 20 square miles would get covered in monarchs, and it’s been 6 (30 years ago, 50;) but was 10 in December 2015. See WWF and Omar Vidal maybe… http://www.katc.com/story/31328782/mexico-documents-big-rebound-in-monarch-butterflies (seems to have more info than http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/02/monarchs-mexico-recovering-record-low-numbers <decent pic ftw) …doomed, un-dooming allocation authorities say: http://wwf.panda.org/wwf_news/?251391/96-of-all-Deforestation-within-Mexicos-Monarch-Butterfly-Sanctuaries-Occur-in-a-Single-Community hm.


#14

Everyone loves monarchs, but I wonder how much of the original “rise” of large monarch populations was due to the massive artificial conversion of fairly stable forest/prairie/etc. native habit (not great for milkweed) to constantly-disturbed wall-to-wall agriculture (awesome for milkweed and thus monarchs), only to now be followed by constantly-disturbed wall-to-wall agriculture with glyphosate (not great for milkweed and thus monarchs).

I imagine that data is incredibly difficult to come by but it would be interesting to know what North American monarch populations were prior to massive agricultural conversion of the land?


#15

Oh wow, this is mostly fear mongering . Yes populations at the Mexico wintering site were low in 2014, But there were sizable increases this year.

One theory is that global climate change is causing them to move further north during the summer and then, if there are early winter storms, they are not able to get back to Mexico.

Blaming farmers is just wrong, in fact, modern crops, like the GMO ones allows farmers to produce more food on less land, That is allowing them to place more land into wildland conservation.

In some states, milkweed is considered a noxious weed and a landowner can be fined for NOT killing it off.

What about all the parking lots, and urban development?

There are things folks can do. Get your towns and cities to plant milkweed in natural areas. Get your state to plant it on highway verges. plant some in your yard.

Don’t blame farmers for a problem that is not theirs to solve.


#16

I just learnt that monarchs in New Zealand don’t migrate, they just clump together in parks. I even found a map of my city produced by the city council which details their known over-wintering areas. I imagine it’s no fun to over-winter here where it regularly gets below 0 celcius in winter.


#17


#18

Time for a Kickstarter for a genetically modified milkweed that’s resistant to glyphosate.
How much should that cost?


#19

That is awesome.


#20

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