Added: Lasheika Ruybal - Date: 09.07.2021 13:31 - Views: 31372 - Clicks: 3068
The of western monarch butterflies wintering along the California coast has plummeted precipitously to a record low, putting the orange-and-black insects closer to extinction, researchers announced Tuesday.
Western monarch butterflies head south from the Pacific Northwest to California each winter, returning to the same places and even the same trees, where they cluster to keep warm. The monarchs generally arrive in California at the beginning of November and spread across the country once warmer weather arrives in March.
On the eastern side of the Rocky Mountains, another monarch population travels from southern Canada and the northeastern United States across thousands of miles to spend the winter in central Mexico. Scientists estimate the monarch population in the eastern U. The Xerces Society, a nonprofit environmental organization that focuses on the conservation of invertebrates, recorded about 29, butterflies in its annual survey last winter.
That was not much different than the tally the winter before, when an all-time low of 27, monarchs were counted. But the count this year is dismal.
Scientists say the butterflies are at critically low levels in western states because of destruction to their milkweed habitat along their migratory route as housing expands into their territory and use of pesticides and herbicides increases. Researchers also have noted the effect of climate change. Massive wildfires throughout the U.
West last year may have influenced their breeding and migration, researchers said. A study by Washington State University researchers predicted that if the monarch population dropped below 30, the species would likely go extinct in the next few decades if nothing is done to save them. Monarch butterflies lack state and federal legal protection to keep their habitat from being destroyed or degraded. People can help the colorful insects by planting early-blooming flowers and milkweed to fuel migrating monarchs on their paths to other states, the Xerces Society said.
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Monarch butterfly population moves closer to extinction