Photo by Patricia Temples. An adult monarch on butterfly weed, in the milkweed genus. While monarch caterpillers will eat only milkweed, the adults feed on nectar and fruit from a variety of plants.
Wild Ideas: The decline of the monarch
Pam Owen explores the complex life of the iconic monarch butterfly and the reasons for its 15-year population decline.
Veteran wildlife writer Pam Owen has been explaining the natural world in the Piedmont — and beyond — for years. Now, Pam will be sharing her knowledge with Piedmont Virginian readers in a new monthly column for piedmontvirginian.com.
In the first installment, Pam explores the decline of monarch butterflies. The reasons for the sudden collapse of monarch populations are complex, mirroring the insect’s complex life cycle, starting with habitat loss. The monarch’s habitat has been disappearing through conversion of land to development and crops here in the U.S. and illegal logging in Mexico. Unstable weather due to global warming, with abnormal temperatures or precipitation, is also cited as among the causes of monarch declines.
Read the full column here: http://www.thepiedmontonline.com/page.cfm/go/in-this-issue#The%20Decline%20of%20the%20Monarch