While in the past fluctuations in Monarch populations could be explained by factors such as a cold winter, the evidence is now clear that there are human factors putting downward pressure on monarch populations.
(Beyond Pesticides) Monarch butterflies are in the midst of a staggering decades-long population decline that has rapidly accelerated since 2005, research published by an international team of scientists and the University of Florida last month indicates. According to data meticulously collected by researchers, monarchs making their way to central Florida after emerging from their breeding grounds in Mexico have declined by 80% over the last decade and a half. This is roughly the same time frame at which beekeepers began to see precipitous declines in managed honey bee colonies. Researchers point to industrial development and increasing pesticide use as factors that have accelerated the decline of this iconic species.
“A broad pattern is that 95 percent of corn and soybean products grown in the U.S. are Roundup Ready crops that resist glyphosate,” said study coauthor Earnest Williams, PhD, of New York’s Hamilton College in a press release. “That has a national impact. What’s really needed are patches of native vegetation and nectar sources without pesticides. It’s not just for monarchs but all pollinators.”
I followed three Monarchs in my garden this morning with the camera. Their food source, the Wild Cotton weed or Milk wood, is in decline in my gardens despite me trying to encourage it.
The Monarch was introduced to Australia soon after the Europeans arrived. There seems to be a different view on the Monarchs arrival in Australia. One account I remember reading suggesting it flew here from Brazil, another that arrived with the new settlers.
Cooler mornings which is the best time to work in the gardens. Enjoyable visitors with a lot of laughs too.
Bountiful produce ready for harvest. Yacons, turmeric, galangal, ginger and Japanese yams. Posting ads for sale with pick up from here only.
Know anyone who might like to purchase bulk ? E mail me or comment below and I will get back to you.
I have a good supply of avocadoes too, such a handy food, only pick when you need them, a couple of days off the tree and in a dark warm place, they ripen.
Was pleased yesterday to find two monarch butterfly caterpillars on the cotton plants. A lot fewer Monarchs this summer and autumn which had me thinking as to why. Yesterday too., the first willy wagtail darted on the veranda, tasting flying insects.
Over 150 mls of rain over the last few days, in August too which is unusual. Rain this constant is the norm from January on. Later than May is highly at odds with regular readings in the rain gauge. Also a lone monarch butterfly sitting on a mustard flower which I have never seen this late in the last days of winter.
It is thought the monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus ) first appeared in Queensland in the 1870s. Speculation then was it had migrated from Brazil under their own wing power but it is now thought it was imported with the Wild Cotton, an introduced plant, which had been dispersed far and wide by 1856. Wild Cotton (Gomphocarpus fruticocus ) is another plant targeted by herbicides in the Byron Shire. The Monarch pupates on the Wild Cotton. I remind readers us Europeans were imported too.
Clear blue sky today, Sunday. It has followed gentle showers, consistent from Friday night. Snakes and goannas still active. The python, who has taken up permanent residence in the old wood-stove, stretched out this morning in full sun. A goanna in the hen house too and its mid-June, sleepy time usually for both goannas and snakes.
The Monarch caterpillars rushing to eat the remaining cotton leaf. I will soon see if this late rush to cocoon is doomed for those caterpillars still eating. What ever comes first, no more food or colder weather.
This beauty crawled out of the oranges I picked up off the ground.
Can’t wait to see this doco. The Monarchs have arrived into my garden and are busy dotting the cotton plant with eggs. The cotton plant is considered a weed to be poisoned by some but I regard every plant as a blessing as the Monarch travels far for this breeding plant.