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 July 2015
Universal:
That political responsibility may be lived at all levels as a high form of charity.
Evangelization: That, amid social inequalities, Latin American Christians may bear witness to love for the poor and contribute to a more fraternal society.



Comments


More Green

Nearly all seabird species expected to have guts full of plastic by 2050 Watch

Image of A bird with plastic netting wrapped around its neck.

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A recently published study stated by 2050, nearly every seabird species is predicted to have plastic debris ingested into their systems. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - Senior research scientist at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research ... continue reading


NASA captures space 'butterfly' with Hubble Space Telescope Watch

Image of  Hubble Scope's new image of Minkowski's Butterfly, a Butterfly Nebula.

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A butterfly nebula recently beamed back via NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. NASA reports the phenomenon is the result of good luck, dust, a dying star and a smaller star. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) -NASA explained that the occurrence had to do with ... continue reading


OMINOUS DEVELOPMENT: Massive chunk breaks off world's fastest melting glacier Watch

Image of It comes as ominous news to coastal cities and nations around the world vulnerable to sudden sea level rise . the world's fastest melting glacier had a massive chunk break off in over two days, setting an unwelcome record.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It comes as ominous news to coastal cities and nations around the world vulnerable to sudden sea level rise as the world's fastest melting glacier had a massive chunk break off in over two days, setting an unwelcome record. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


First for insect kingdom: Ants able to 'self-medicate' when unwell Watch

Image of It was also learned that the infected ants would also either choose to eat the poison as often as normal food, or only a quarter of the time, showing that the ants were

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The common ant is typically thought of as being an example of the "hive mind" - acting in concert with their respective colonies, without free will. Researchers have now learned that ants are able to feel when they are sick or unwell - and self-medicate themselves. LOS ... continue reading


WORLD-WIDE POWER OUTAGE: Is a massive solar flare in our near future? Watch

Image of [Photo by: Solar Flare/BENSOW]

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The world is highly dependent on electricity, even more so now than ever before. A massive solar storm can leave the Earth in bad shape and cause a global-scale of darkness. We must always be ready for such an event to prevent further panic and havoc. MUNTINLUPA, ... continue reading


World's oldest 'first flower' discovered in Spain's mountainous regions Watch

Image of

By Hannah Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An ancient plant fossil, of what could be claimed as the world's oldest flowering plant, was unearthed in Spain. According to a new study in the online journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the plant, which is approximately 125 million to 130 ... continue reading


Biggest oarfish EVER: Latest specimen washed ashore on Catalina Island was at least 24 feet long Watch

Image of Oarfish washed up onshore on California's coasts in recent years are believed to have been sick, disoriented because of a storm or even responding to underwater seismic activity.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Oarfish, deep-sea denizens, have been washing up on the resort island of Catalina Island with surprising frequency. Oarfish washed up there June of 2013 - and now, a dead oarfish full of krill washed up there again on Monday. Experts say the more recent ... continue reading


Three African nations will be among the 10 most densely populated in 2050, report says Watch

Image of Many African countries will be rising in the ranks over the next 30 years due to life-extending medical advances. The study finds that most national populations will double in 40 countries, chiefly African.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Washington-based Population Reference Bureau has recently published a projected study of what the most populous nations in the world will be in the year 2050. Because of high fertility rates and improved life expectancy, three African nations - Nigeria, ... continue reading


NASA tests 'Ferrari of rocket engines' set to launch astronauts to Mars Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The RS-25, for a trip to Mars, has been tested by NASA. According to reports, the engine was more powerful than the top technology we currently use in automobile and jet industries. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - CNET.com reported that the RS-25 engine is ... continue reading


New 'toddler' planet discovered Watch

Image of Jupiter

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

After success with the flyby on Pluto and the discovery of the Earth-like planet thousands of light-years away, a planet much like our Jupiter has now been observed by researchers. Reports explain that the new planet is 20-million-years-old, a relatively young planet ... 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, First Thessalonians 5:1-6, 9-11
1 About times and dates, brothers, there is no need ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 1st, 2015 Image

St. Giles, Abbot
September 1: St. Giles, Abbot (Patron of Physically Disabled) Feast day - ... 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