The Monarch butterflies have been prolific this year.
With more than 80 percent of the world’s flowering plants relying on pollinators, their importance to natural ecosystems and agriculture cannot be overstated. However, populations of pollinators, including bird, bat, butterfly, beetle and bee species, have been declining around the world. Monarch butterflies complete incredible migrations of hundreds to thousands of miles each year across North America. Along their migratory paths, Monarchs rely on habitats that contain milkweed species, which is the only plant that they lay their eggs on. Monarch caterpillars feed exclusively on milkweed, which contains chemical compounds that make them poisonous to potential predators.
Soon they will be returning to their home in Mexico, where they will spend their winter hibernation clustered in small areas of the Reserva de la Biosfera Mariposa Monarca (Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve), a national protected area and nature preserve that covers more than 200-square-miles.