This year’s traditional migration of the Monarch butterfly, a beautiful large orange butterfly, from North America to Mexico, will be far smaller than last year, reports Michael Pearce at the Wichita Eagle. Its decline is a perfect example of how species already stressed by other human influences are being further harmed by climate change. Chip Taylor, director of the conservation group Monarch Watch, said “It’s going to be much lower this year than last year, and that was a low year.” Taylor, a biologist at the University of Kansas said this year’s drought, the kind predicted under climate change, has crippled monarch reproduction and survival. Unlike last year, the drought stretches much farther to the north and east, including areas that are some of the most productive regions for monarch production. As it is, the population is half its long term average, and much of this is due to loss of habitat. Taylor said research shows monarchs have lost around 160 million acres of habitat since the mid-1990s, and continue to lose habitat at about 6,000 acres daily, much due to changing agricultural practices and crops.
Drought diminishes monarch butterfly migration. Few things in nature are so small, yet so often bring such joy, as monarch butterflies. But this year’s monarch migration is expected to be disappointing. Biologists say drought has crippled monarch reproduction and survival. Wichita Eagle http://www.kansascity.com/2012/09/01/3792021/monarch-migration-expected-to.html