Monarch Butterflies  

TOPIC: Monarch Butterflies

== 1 of 4 ==
Date: Thurs, Mar 13 2008 3:46 pm
From: "Edward Frank"


How many of you have tried raisng Monarch Butterflies from caterpillars? They are one of the species more amenable to this activity and a good way to get children of all ages involved in this one aspect of nature activities. They can be found as white-orange-and-black banded caterpillars living on milkweed plants. What is particularly neat about this species is that populations migrate south and overwinter in Mexico.

Bad news is that the "protected" overwintering grounds in Mexico are being severely impacted by illegal logging. There are new satellite photos and information on this problem on NASA Earth Observatory website: The article reads in part::
Recently, scientists identified severe degradation of the forest habitat within the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve in central Mexico using imagery from the commercial Ikonos satellite. The white line indicates the boundaries of the reserve's "Core Zone," where logging is forbidden according to the Presidential decree that established the reserve in November 2000. This pair of images shows the affected area on March 22, 2004 (top) and February 23, 2008 (below). The degraded area is the site of the Lomas de Aparicio monarch colony. The circles on the image (not to scale) indicate the approximate positions of the colony in different seasons. Colonies typically cover areas of 0.25-2.0 hectares (equivalent to a circle with a diameter of 60-160 meters, or 200-525 feet). The area had been largely intact since at least 1986. Overwintering colonies have been documented there since 1996, but have probably formed there long into the past.

In the 2004 image, the beginnings of the logging operation are apparent in an area to the east of (and partially inside) the core zone. Based upon this pair of images, and a similar image taken in 2006 by the QuickBird satellite, scientists Lincoln Brower, Daniel Slayback, and Isabel Ramirez have determined that approximately 450 hectares (1,110 acres) of forest were logged between 2004 and 2008, representing 3.3% of the 13,552 hectares (33,410 acres) core zone of the reserve. The majority of this logging (290 hectares, or 717 acres) has occurred since March 2006.

Forest degradation-which progresses from thinning to clear-cutting-has been an ongoing problem throughout the reserve. Other logging incursions have destroyed several other prime overwintering areas within the reserve, making them unsuitable for monarch colonies. Based upon the degradation apparent in these images, it is unlikely monarchs will form overwintering colonies at this Lomas de Aparicio site in future years. If they do return, they will be subject to much greater environmental risks during their six-month overwintering stay. An intact forest canopy serves a critical role by protecting the monarchs from both freezing cold during winter storms and from excessive warmth during the days

Ed Frank

== 2 of 4 ==
Date: Thurs, Mar 13 2008 5:48 pm
From: Larry

ENTS, And the beat goes on as mankind continues to destroy the
environment for greed! To hr# with a Butterfly lets make
money! Didn't the US clear all our forests regardless
of the consequences! We only wiped out the whole ecology of the United
States how many species did that
In Northwest Fla., I watched hundreds of Monarchs daily as they
stopped on their Migration route. Thanks for sharing that Ed. Larry

== 3 of 4 ==
Date: Thurs, Mar 13 2008 6:02 pm
From: "Edward Frank"


To Mexico's credit, they did declare this a World Biosphere Reserve and make logging there illegal. The problem with reserves in poorer countries, is that while they may legally be protected, their governments do not have any or are unwilling to spend the money
needed to enforce their legal protection. There is corruption in some cases to be sure (like in the United States), but often the developers, mining companies, timber companies, and drug dealers simply have more funds to pursue their activates than the government has to stop them.


== 4 of 4 ==
Date: Thurs, Mar 13 2008 9:58 pm
From: James Parton


In my younger days I gathered both caterpillars and eggs from milkweed
plants, the preferred the bright orange butterfly weed the most. All
you had to do was keep the little striped caterpillars fed and they
would grow and then pupate into a beautiful green & gold crysalis.
After a couple of weeks or so the crysalis would darken and you could
see the butterfly inside. It would emerge, dry its wings and then fly
off. I raised many species of lepidoptera this way. The Monarch and
Silk Moths ( Luna, Cecropia, Promethia, Polyphemus, etc ) are my most

James P.