There is some great news on the environmental front! According to the data presented by Mexico’s commissioner for protected natural areas, the overall population of monarch butterflies wintering in Mexico has increased by a whopping 144 per cent over last year. Each fall, these charismatic butterflies move from their summer dwellings in Canada and the northern part of America to their winter homes in Mexico and California.
The population of these butterflies is determined by how much surface area they cover. In winter this year, they occupied a total of 14.95 acres in the forests of Mexico. This is a huge increase from the 6.12 acres that they occupied last year. This has been the largest area they have occupied in over a decade.
However, scientist and conservationists were quick to point that this does not mean that the species were out of danger. They also warned that this does not ascertain that the trend will continue.
What is Causing their Numbers to Reduce?
There has been much concern regarding the dwindling numbers of these butterflies. A huge habitat loss due to excessive usage of herbicide, human-caused climate changes, and habitat loss are some reasons for this decline. For instance, the increase in the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere could be one explanation for the reducing numbers. The elevating CO2 levels can make the food that they feed on exclusively – milkweed – poisonous for consumption.
Why are they Significant?
Monarch butterflies are a big source of pollination and aid the reproducing of the species that they pollinate. They are also a part of the ecosystem and the food chain as the caterpillars are the food for species such as wasps, ants, and spiders.0