Species of the Week: The Monarch Butterfly

Photo by Sarah Wray

This week’s #SpeciesOfTheWeek is the Monarch (Danaus plexippus). The Monarch is one of the most famous and popular species of butterflies, known for their bright orange coloration, with black lines and white spots, as well as their migration from Canada/United States to Southern California/Mexico. It is not uncommon to see thousands of Monarchs lining the tree canopy at their overwintering sites, truly a sight to behold. Impressively, it takes three generations of Monarchs to complete such a lengthy migration. Milkweed plants play an important role in the life of a Monarch as that is the host species for their caterpillars. When the caterpillars eat the toxic milkweed, the toxins build up in their tissues making them unpalatable to predators. Since the 1980s, there has been a 99% decline in the western Monarch population and an 80% decline in the eastern population which has resulted in them being recognized as a species at risk. Major threats to Monarch populations are habitat loss and climate change. Due to their popularity, the decline of Monarch populations has received a lot of attention and efforts to promote habitat conservation and milkweed planting have arisen in the hopes to help this iconic species. At Murphys Point, it is not uncommon to see this beautiful species flying around the meadow at the Lally Homestead.

This entry was posted in Friends of Murphys Point, Murphys Point, Murphys Point Provincial Park, Species of the Week. Bookmark the permalink.

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