Citizen Science Delivers “Unprecedented View” of Monarch Butterfly Parasitoids

monarch larva

Thanks to citizen volunteers, scientists now know more than ever about the flies that attack monarch butterfly caterpillars. Since 1999, volunteers participating in the Monarch Larva Monitoring Project have collected and raised more than 20,000 monarch eggs and caterpillars, and they’ve recorded incidents of those specimens being parasitized by fly larvae. They have also collected […]

Tagging Monarch Butterflies Helps Track Their Migration

By Kevin Fitzgerald Every autumn, the Migration Festival takes place at Lighthouse Point on the seacoast of Connecticut near New Haven. It’s a celebration of flying creatures: birds, butterflies, and dragonflies. This event is a cooperative effort sponsored by the New Haven Parks, Recreation, and Tree Department; New Haven Bird Club; Audubon Connecticut; Menunkatuck Audubon […]

Scientists Document Illegal Logging in Monarch Butterfly Reserve by Using Drones and Satellite Photos

By Richard Levine Today I wrote a guest article for the Oxford University Press Blog. The monarch butterfly is famous for its migratory route, which can be as long as 2,500 miles. Unfortunately, the end of its destination is a mountainous part of Mexico that is home to oaks, pines and Oyamel firs, which are […]

Root Fungi on Milkweed Affects Monarch Butterfly Health

It’s been known for some time that toxins produced by milkweed plants can protect monarch butterlfy caterpillars from predators, such as birds, and from various parasites. Now researchers from the University of Michigan and Emory University have shown that root fungi that form a symbiotic relationship with milkweed plants also play a role in disease […]

New Monarch Butterfly Studies May Provide Reasons for Optimism

Eight new articles on monarch butterflies were published today in the Annals of the Entomological Society of America. “This group of papers is intended to give us the latest and best data available on the status of monarch populations and perhaps point the way to our best efforts to protect them,” said Lawrence E. Hurd, […]