Tucson, Arizona 2021-09-15 09:00:00 –
“Tagging is the only way to actually see the movement of a monarch throughout the landscape,” Billings said.
Threats faced by the monarch
In addition to climate change, the decline of monarchs is also due to habitat loss and the use of pesticides, which are closely linked. Housing development and agriculture take space from the monarchy and accept plants and food.
Toni Palmer, the zookeeper at the Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum’s Invertebrate Zoo, said:
The monarch is culturally and ecologically important. Eat milkweed, a highly toxic plant that grows well near cornfields, and use its toxins as a defense against predators to create a unique niche for the ecosystem. To control pests from crops, many farmers spray their fields with pesticides such as glyphosate and BT. When the Monarch caterpillar consumes BT-contaminated milkweed, it essentially “gets muddy and dies,” Palmer said.
Experts suspect that the monarch will not disappear altogether. However, its rapid population decline serves as a harsh warning as it is primarily considered an indicator species.
“This truly dramatic reduction in monark migration is a kind of potential indicator of our larger ecosystem,” said Madsen of the Tucson Botanical Gardens. “And if that movement doesn’t work, it’s very likely that other insects and organisms with similar living strategies are probably suffering as well.”
Monarch butterflies putting on a spectacular show in Tucson this fall | Local news Source link Monarch butterflies putting on a spectacular show in Tucson this fall | Local news