Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

3/14/2013 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Migration to the mountainsides of Mexico of colorful insects declines to 59 percent this year

Monarch butterflies, noted for their colorful orange-and-black wings have been mysteriously dropping off in populations. The number of butterflies taking their winter break in Mexico has dropped 59 percent this year. It's the lowest level since scientists have been recording their migration over the past 20 years. Researchers are scrambling to find the reasons why.

The World Wildlife Fund blames climate conditions and agricultural practices, especially the use of pesticides that kill off the monarchs' main food source, milkweed.

The World Wildlife Fund blames climate conditions and agricultural practices, especially the use of pesticides that kill off the monarchs' main food source, milkweed.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

3/14/2013 (2 years ago)

Published in Green

Keywords: monarch butterflies, migration, population drop, climate change, illegal logging, herbicide


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The butterflies typically migrate from the United States and Canada to spend the winter sheltering in the mountains of central Mexico. Six of the last seven years have shown butterfly population drops. There is now only one-fifteenth as many butterflies as there were in 1997.

Experts say that the decline in the monarch population marks a statistical long-term trend and can no longer be seen as a combination of yearly or seasonal events - but they differed on the possible causes.

One of the culprits, illegal logging in the reserve established in the monarch wintering grounds was believed to be one of the chief reasons. Such logging has been vastly reduced by increased protection, enforcement and alternative development programs in Mexico.

The World Wildlife Fund blames climate conditions and agricultural practices, especially the use of pesticides that kill off the monarchs' main food source, milkweed. The Monarchs breed and live in the north in the summer, and migrate to Mexico in the winter.

"The decrease of monarch butterflies ... probably is due to the negative effects of reduction in milkweed and extreme variation in the United States and Canada," the fund and its partner organizations said in a statement.

"The conservation of the monarch butterfly is a shared responsibility between Mexico, the United States and Canada. By protecting the reserves and having practically eliminated large-scale illegal logging, Mexico has done its part," Omar Vidal, the World Wildlife Fund director in Mexico says.

"It is now necessary for the United States and Canada to do their part and protect the butterflies' habitat in their territories," Vidal said.

Logging was once considered the main threat to the reserve. But a 2012 aerial survey showed very little detectable logging, in the first times that logging had not been found in detectable amounts since the mountaintop forests were declared a nature reserve in 2000.

Milkweed depletion in the monarchs' summering areas in the north can make it hard for the butterflies to lay eggs, and for the offspring that do hatch to find enough food to grow to maturity.

Unusually hot or dry weather can also kill eggs, meaning fewer adult butterflies. For butterflies that reach adulthood, unusual cold, lack of water or tree cover in Mexico can mean they're less likely to survive the winter.

"This is not just the lowest population recorded in the 20 years for which we have records," Lincoln Brower, a leading entomologist at Sweet Briar College in Virginia, says. "The report of the dwindling monarch butterfly winter residence in Mexico is ominous.
"It is the continuation of a statistically significant decrease in the monarch population that began at least a decade ago."

However, Brower differed on whether small-scale logging, the diversion of water resources and other disruptive activity in the reserves in Mexico are playing a role in the decline.

"To blame the low numbers of monarchs solely on what is happening north of Mexico is misleading," Brower said. "Herbiciding of soybean and corn fields that kills milkweed is a serious problem, but the historical decline over the past 19 years has multiple causes.

"All three countries need to face up to the fact that it is our collective activities that are killing the migratory phenomenon of the monarch butterfly," he said.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for May 2015
Universal:
That, rejecting the culture of indifference, we may care for our neighbours who suffer, especially the sick and the poor.
Evangelization: That Mary's intercession may help Christians in secularized cultures be ready to proclaim Jesus.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More Green

Death Valley's puzzling 'sailing stones' mystery solved Watch

Image of Scientists have found an ally of microorganisms that they believe aid the heavy rocks on their

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Scientists initially thought that the large stones' movements in Death Valley, California without any human intervention are due to the icy, slippery surface due to the winter season. However, they found a colony of bacteria living within the area bound by the mystery ... continue reading


Scientists make odd discovery: Earliest snakes had feet and ankles Watch

Image of The earliest ancestors of snakes may have retained feet and ankles as late as 20 million years ago.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A new study published in the science journal BMC Evolutionary Biology has revealed a startling fact about the ancestors of modern snakes, suggesting that the reptiles may have evolved from creatures that had feet and ankles around 128 million years ago on the ... continue reading


Unexpected find in Washington may be last of its kind Watch

Image of This is the group of dinosaurs the Tyrannosaurus Rex is associated with.

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

When an inter-tidal rock was found in the Sucia Island State Park in Washington State back in 2012, its discoverers had no idea that it would create or cause such excitement and hype. Embedded in the rock is a 17-inch bone fragment, that could not be immediately ... continue reading


DEVASTATING photos show humanity's destruction of Planet Earth Watch

Image of This bird ate too much plastic trash and died, revealing its unnatural diet upon decomposition.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Humanity's rapid expansion as the global population increases is taking its toll on the environment. Climate change, overpopulation, pollution, hunting of endangered species and strip mining are running rampant worldwide. A series of shocking photographs now ... continue reading


TOO SOON? Canonization of Mother Teresa next year only hypothetical, Vatican says Watch

Image of There had been reports in the Italian press that Mother Teresa, the founder of the Missionaries of Charity, who worked among the poorest of the poor, would be canonized before the end of the upcoming Holy Year of Mercy.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In spite of various published reports that Blessed Teresa of Kolkata will be canonized on September 4, 2016, the Vatican says that this remains hypothetical. "It is a working hypothesis, therefore there is no official confirmation to be given," Vatican representative ... continue reading


2020: Antarctic ice shelf could collapse Watch

Image of Land-based glaciers that have also started to slide faster toward the sea.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The rich get richer, the poor get poorer and those polar ice caps keep right on melting. Things have deteriorated so badly - especially the Larsen B ice shelf, that scientist now fear the entire Antarctica ice shelf will collapse by the end of this decade, in ... continue reading


Raining spiders? Large areas of Australia covered in spider webs Watch

Image of Baby spiders

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The worst news for spider haters in Australia and around the globe: a natural migration phenomenon where baby spiders are flying is possible and has recently happened in the southern part of Australia. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - Referred to as "Angel ... continue reading


HONEY HOLOCAUST: Forty percent of all beehives died in the past year Watch

Image of Oklahoma, Illinois, Iowa, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Maine and Wisconsin all saw more than 60 percent of their hives die since April of last year.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It is an alarming figure that may speak of a silent, ecological disaster. According to a federal study, more than two out of five American honeybee colonies died in the past year. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The survey reports that the worst die-off ... continue reading


Recreating Dinosaurs: Using chicken embryos, scientists learn how dinosaurs got 'snouts' Watch

Image of The team's aim was to understand how the bird beak evolved, because the beak is such a vital part of bird anatomy.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An asteroid, crashing into the Earth 65 million years ago, is thought to have caused the dinosaurs to go extinct. A group of dinosaurs managed to survive, and is thought to have evolved into modern-day birds. That theory has been around since the 19th Century. ... continue reading


Catfish surprisingly climbs wall and stuns scientists Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Inside a cave near Tena in Ecuador, a group of scientists filmed a catfish climbing up the wall to lick food from the roof. Climbing seems impossible for fishes, but evidence of an actual video showing an armored catfish making its way up the cave wall presents a new ... continue reading


All Green News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Sirach 42:15-25
15 Next, I shall remind you of the works of the Lord, ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 33:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9
2 Give thanks to Yahweh on the lyre, play for him on ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 10:46-52
46 They reached Jericho; and as he left Jericho with ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for May 28th, 2015 Image

Bl. Margaret Pole
May 28: Martyr of England. She was born Margaret Plantagenet, the niece ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter