Climate Change and Herbicide Responsible for Fall in Population of Monarch Butterflies

Climate Change and Herbicide Responsible for Fall in Population of Monarch Butte

In a recent study, researchers from the University of Guelph said 90% of monarch habitat has been destroyed, which in turn is affecting the overall population of monarch butterflies. Migration in spring, on the other hand, points towards slight increase in the population of this community of butterflies.

Tierra Curry, a senior scientist at the Center for Biology Diversity, said that the monarch butterflies of our backyard that has been part of every American's childhood are facing several survival threats.

A petition filed by the Center for Biological Diversity and various other partners of the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Services on August 26 claimed that almost 165 million acres of land, which was amongst the major breeding grounds of butterflies in summers, has been destroyed.

Craig Wilson, senior Texas A&M research associate and butterfly enthusiast, favors the petition. He also said that fall in migration is unique as a single generation has to make a journey of 3,000 miles.

Wilson said that although milkweed, a wildflower crucial for reproduction of the monarch's has become scarce, they need some pollinators like Golden Rod so that they could sustain the energy of monarch.

Orley Taylor, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Kansas, founded Monarch Watch, which is an organization concerned about conservation of monarch.

Taylor said herbicide used by farmers to spray their field in order to protect their crops from unwanted vegetation kills the wildflowers that are very essential for the monarch's survival.

Experts said that climate change is also a crucial element which has a negative impact on monarch. They say harsh winters and late spring since past three years have reduced monarch's breeding.

Wilson said, "All the factors I've researched indicate that there will be more monarchs migrating this fall and at the overwintering locations by mid December when the colonies are measured".

Wilson predicted that monarchs will reach the College Station by the end of September. Therefore, he suggested that college students could help to plant more wildflowers in order to help the migration of monarch.

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