Butterflies: Monarch

Photo of Monarch male

Monarchs (Danaus plexippus) are among the most familiar insect migrants. In late summer and fall, adults pass through New England on their long journeys from points north to wintering locations in Mexico. During stopovers, they fuel up on the nectar of various late-season flowers. I photographed these Monarchs last month as they foraged in the flower beds of a community farm in southern Maine.

2 thoughts on “Butterflies: Monarch”

  1. I used to have monarchs every year in my front yard and I have allowed for milkweed to take over my front beds because I want them to return, but there have been none for two years… I have heard about the populations being in danger. Do you think it is that or just that they may be going somewhere else??? Just curious for your opinion.

    1. Thanks for raising this issue. Various groups including Monarch Watch have reported sharp declines in Monarch populations in the last 20 years. Assuming these reports are accurate, it’s no wonder we are seeing fewer and fewer Monarchs each year in New England.

      While nurturing patches of Milkweed (Asclepias sp.) in New England is important, it’s not enough. We also need to address large-scale land use (and abuse) in the middle part of the country that is disrupting the reproductive cycle of Monarchs and the destruction of their wintering habitat in Mexico.

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