Heavy metals are found naturally in the Earth’s crust. However, human activity stirs up an important amount of these metals into the environment. Most organisms are now exposed to much higher concentrations than those encountered in their evolutionary history. But how does it affect the monarch? Does it risk being exposed to these heavy metals, and above all, is it sensitive to those pollutants?
Are you currently working in your garden? If you want to help monarchs, it is essential to incorporate milkweed, as they cannot complete their life cycle without this plant. But do not forget to addp lants with flowers that are rich in nectar.
Monarchs are not immune to illnesses or parasites. In order to avoid overly high infection rates, females infected by a parasite lay their eggs on “antiparasitic” milkweed species, as though they were giving their young medicine.
The days are getting cooler. Now is the perfect time to get your hands on some milkweed seeds! Learn how to identify the ideal milkweed follicles for harvest, as well as how to manage and plant your seeds in the fall.
A number of people have contacted us over the summer to ask how the monarch population is doing. Are we dealing with a smaller population of monarchs this year, or have the monarchs simply been delayed in getting to our latitudes? Discover the different factors and strategies that can influence the monarch’s northern migration.
Even if milkweed has different strategies to keep most herbivores at bay, the monarch butterfly has managed to counter them to feed on it exclusively. Discover the very complex relationship between these two organisms.
Marian MacNair is a young researcher who traveled no less than 6,000 km last summer to study the monarch butterfly. Discover the story of her busy days spent meticulously counting eggs and caterpillars, and where she meets passionate entomologists!.
by Alessandro Dieni, Mission Monarch coordinator
and Marian MacNair, journalist and science educator