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New Discoveries Help Monarch Butterfly Conservation

With the number of monarchs dangerously dwindling, biologists are finding quick solutions to restore the iconic butterfly population.

In fall, millions of monarch butterflies used to journey more than 2,000 miles across North America to warmer winter habitats.

But now, with the number of monarchs dangerously dwindling, biologists need to find a quick solution to restore the iconic butterfly population.

And they believe they’ve found the answer.

Salon reports that halting and reversing the decline of monarch butterflies depends largely on milkweed — the only plant that the caterpillars eat and where monarchs lay their eggs.

Since monarchs can’t survive without milkweed, we should focus the conservation efforts on planting more milkweed.

"For example, the diversity of plants in a garden, the specific plants that are used and their arrangement — all of those things matter for how the butterflies are able to locate the hosts and move from one to the next."


Although biological diversity is usually a good thing, research has shown that a more diverse habitat may not be good for monarchs, with them being so picky about what they eat.

Adam Dale, an assistant professor in entomology at the University of Florida, says that the main goal should be to create conservation habitat in urban areas, where milkweed could be used as a landscaping plant in gardens.

Fun fact: The monarch butterfly is the state insect of Alabama, Idaho, Illinois, Minnesota, Texas, Vermont, and West Virginia.



Nikola uses his background in electrical engineering to break down complex sustainability topics for GreenCitizen's readers. He is a firm believer in environmental conservation, which he practices daily through recycling and home-grown food. He enjoys hiking, engaging in white-water sports, and collecting pocket knives.

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