Wednesday, October 8, 2014

It is what it is

Meteorologists were puzzled by the butterfly shape on radar above St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., on September 19th until the National Weather Service determined that it was caused by hundreds of monarch butterflies flying between 5,000' and 6,000' (1525 m to 1825 m) on their way to Mexico. Just as scientists are figuring out why the insects are so well-equipped for their long migrations, the numbers of monarchs are declining sharply, due in large part to the use of pesticides. Wendy Caldwell of the nonprofit organizationd Monarch Joint Venture explains, "The primary threat to monarchs in the U.S. is the loss of breeding and migrating habitat throughout their range. Monarch caterpillars rely on milkweed as their only food source, and changing land use and land management practices have eliminated much of the milkweed from the agricultural landscape." To help save the monarchs – and to enjoy their beauty in your backyard – plant milkweed!

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