Monarch Butterfly News: February 13, 2014
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Where are the monarchs? The distribution of this year's small population raises conservation concerns.

Image of the Week
Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary | Aerial View
Butterfly Trees
Dr. Lincoln Brower
News: Two of Twelve
This year, 88% of the monarchs are occupying two of the 12 overwintering sites. Five of the sites have no monarchs at all.

Dr. Lincoln Brower shares his concerns:

"The scientific community is very disturbed by the sharp decline in the numbers of overwintering monarch butterflies in Mexico. When I first visited the Sierra Chincua Sanctuary in January 1977, the colony was 1.50 hectares in area. Until recently, Chincua always had one or more large colonies. This year it dropped to 0.02 hectares, a 98% drop from the 1.50 ha in 1977. Similarly catastrophically low numbers this year occurred in all but the Rosario colony.

"I have proposed that the normal huge number of monarchs somehow leave a chemical fingerprint on the Oyamel trees that the next year's butterflies sense to locate the area the following November. If this is true, so little chemical may be left behind by the current tiny colonies that next year's butterflies may not be able to sense their way back to the marked trees.

"The evidence we have strongly points to one main cause of this decline: the current soybean and corn crops are genetically engineered to tolerate heavy doses of herbicide that kills all competing plants, including milkweeds. Growing virtually unlimited genetically modified plants doused with poisonous herbicides is starving the rest of nature's food chains, including that of our beloved monarch butterfly as well as pollinating insects in general."

  • Journal: What do the pie charts reveal about monarch distribution?
How you can help monarch butterflies
Twelve Sites
Monarch Population at Record Low: Graph
Where are the Butterflies?

Monarch Butterflies: Why the decline?
Compare Years

Monarch Decline: How You Can Help

Monarch Butterflies: Why the decline?

Why the Decline?

How you can help monarch butterflies

How you can help monarch butterflies

How You Can Help

News from Estela: Conservation Connections
Estela visited 55 classrooms in 38 schools surrounding the El Rosario and Sierra Chincua sanctuaries.

"The students are proud to realize that they can play an important role in preserving the wondrous migration by learning how to conserve the Oyamel forests in our region."

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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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