Butterfly Lovers Hope to Learn from Monarch Blitz
The first Monarch blitz is over, and 300 people in the US participated by counting eggs, caterpillars, chrysalides, and butterflies. The citizen scientists then submitted their findings to the Monarch Lab at the University of Minnesota.
This first Monarch Blitz included the United States, Mexico, and Canada.
Spokeswoman, Cora Lund Preston, says the results will help researchers find out where Monarchs reproduce, then learn what makes habitat good or bad for them. Their numbers have declined drastically over the past 20 years.
Scientists keep track of Monarch butterfly populations while they spend their winters in Mexico. For example, Preston says in the 1990's, they were abundant, covering about 20 hectares. One hectare is nearly 2.5 acres. And the record low for Monarch over-wintering was set in 2012-2013, when the butterflies covered less than one hectare. But Preston says last year, it grew to nearly three. The goal is to increase the Monarch population to six hectares (nearly 15 acres) by 2020. She says it's ambitious, but doable with everyone's help.