Monarch Butterfly News: February 6, 2014
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The monarch butterflies now overwintering in Mexico will serve as the seed stock for future generations. Learn how you can help.

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Monarch butterflies overwintering in Mexico
33 Million
Estela Romero
News: Monarchs at Record Low
The number of monarchs overwintering in Mexico has plunged to a new low, with only 1.65 acres of forest covered with clustering butterflies. At 20 million butterflies per acre, this year's population is estimated at only 33 million monarchs compared to a peak of 1 billion in 1996.

"It's mind-numbing to realize that virtually the entire population is now existing in an area about the size of my yard," wrote Journey North participant Pat Swerkstrom.

Monarch experts reacted to the news with concern:

Dr. Lincoln Brower
''The main culprit is genetically modified herbicide-resistant corn and soybean crops and herbicides in the USA, which lead to the wholesale killing of the monarch's principal food plant, common milkweed.''

Dr. Chip Taylor
"We may never see large numbers we had in the 1990's but monarchs won't be gone. The monarch butterfly is not threatened with extinction. It's the migratory phenomenon that's in jeopardy."

Dr. Karen Oberhauser
"Individuals can help by planting locally sourced, native milkweed and nectar plants, and by spreading the word. It's important to use local plants because some varieties, especially those planted year-round in some southern states, have led to disturbances in the migratory patterns. Individuals also can help by asking property managers and local governments to avoid mowing milkweed plants when monarch eggs and caterpillars might be present, and by avoiding insecticides."

  • Journal: Brainstorm ways you can help monarchs at home, at school, and in your community.
Monarch Population at Record Low: Graph
Acres | Hectares | Millions

Monarch Butterflies: Why the decline?
Why the Decline?
How you can help monarch butterflies
How You Can Help
How you can help monarch butterflies

Infographic to Share

News from Mexico: Letter from Estela
Estela Romero visited the monarch sanctuaries and shares her perspective:
"Please know that we will join with you—friends in the United States and Canada—to find ways to protect the monarchs in our three countries."  
Estela Romero
Maps: Report Your Sightings
Monarch butterfly migration map Monarch butterfly migration map Map of milkweed emergence: Spring 2014
What to Report First Adult
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report | map | list
Monarch butterfly migration map Monarch butterfly migration map Monarch butterfly migration map
First Egg
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First Larvae
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Other Observations
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Next Update February 13, 2014