In a bid to save the Monarch butterflies that are facing a sharp decline, the researchers at the University of Guelph have carried an interesting and first of its kind study about the migration pattern of butterflies during a full breeding season. The findings would play a crucial role in understanding the migration pattern of these flies and protecting them from future threats.
Monarch butterfly study has been published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
The study can serve as a crucial method to a link between the adult butterflies and their birthplaces. The process of annual migration of butterflies is very complicated and thus the study may be remarkable development in understanding their behavior.
The researchers used chemical markers to link the waves of insects with their place of birth. Monarchs take energy from milkweed and notably its chemical signature keeps changing from places to place. With the help of these chemical signatures, researchers identified their birthplaces and hence studied their migration pattern.
Monarch butterflies have one of the most epic and chronicled migrations of the insect world. They journey thousands of miles each year between Mexico and Canada, wintering in the south before returning north once more. Until now, though, linking adult butterflies and their birthplaces during this complicated migration has remained near impossible. Yet scientists have now mapped this migration pattern over an entire breeding season, which may help them preserve this amazing creature.
What went wrong?
The number of Monarch butterflies is declining currently. The vibrant insect is suffering from habitat destruction. The other major factors playing significant role in its sharp decline are the presence of insecticides and other chemicals in the environment besides the loss of milkweed, the sole plant that Monarch larvae feed on. This mapping would help the scientists in understanding the reason behind this decline. It will also determine the effect of decreasing milkweed plants on the life of these endangered species.