A great blog post about Monarchs, including the relative size and OE infection rates of Western and Eastern subpopulations, and the astounding conclusion below about probable causes for the increasing parasite problem. An in-depth and interesting read.
“From my view of the world, I see three anthropogenic practices that have all arisen during the save-the-monarchs movement, and each of these probably has some influence on this, because of what we know about its influence on OE numbers. They are, in no particular order: 1) commercial monarch breeding operations, where thousands of monarchs are raised, sold, and shipped around the country for release. These monarchs are often infected with OE (we’ve checked). And, these operations are always touting that their monarchs are helping to boost the population 2) homeowner rearing of monarchs for release. If people rear more than just a few monarchs, their kitchen-rearing operations have the potential to result in major OE spread. 3) planting of tropical milkweed. In places where it doesn’t freeze, this milkweed has been proven to enhance local OE spread. Even though these places are usually more southern, migrating monarchs still pass through them on the way south, and/or north, and, they probably interact with the highly-infected resident monarchs there.”The science of monarch butterflies
A blog about monarchs, written by a monarch scientist, for people who love monarchs