Presentation Title

Disturbance In Southern California Monarch Butterfly Migration Patterns

Faculty Mentor

Erika Catanese

Start Date

17-11-2018 9:30 AM

End Date

17-11-2018 9:45 AM

Location

C164

Session

Oral 2

Type of Presentation

Oral Talk

Subject Area

interdisciplinary

Abstract

The monarch butterfly Danaus plexippus is threatened with extinction. Their population has dropped 90% since the 1990s (NatureServ.org). The monarch has a six-month lifespan, meaning it takes multiple generations for the butterfly to complete its annual migration (Xerces.org). Analysis of Southern California occurrences of the monarch butterfly shows that their migration patterns have been interrupted wherein the monarch’s coastal population appears to have increased whereas its inland population has decreased. One factor is the introduction of a tropical invader: Asclepias curassavica. The evergreen nature of tropical milkweed decreases the monarch’s drive to migrate due to its promise of abundant brooding habitat (Faldyn 2018), indicating a strong correlation and possible causation between Asclepias curassavica and the disruption of the monarch butterfly’s migration patterns. More research is needed in a larger scale study inclusive of the entire California overwinter monarch range and exploration of other factors such as climate change and land use change.

Keywords: Danaus plexippus, monarch butterfly, milkweed, Asclepias fascicularis, Asclepias curassavica, migration, Southern California.

Summary of research results to be presented

The monarch’s increasing population in the coastal roosting habitat and a decrease in its inland brooding habitat indicates a disruption in its migration patterns. More research is needed in a larger scale study inclusive of the entire California overwinter monarch range and exploration of other factors such as climate change and land use change.

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Nov 17th, 9:30 AM Nov 17th, 9:45 AM

Disturbance In Southern California Monarch Butterfly Migration Patterns

C164

The monarch butterfly Danaus plexippus is threatened with extinction. Their population has dropped 90% since the 1990s (NatureServ.org). The monarch has a six-month lifespan, meaning it takes multiple generations for the butterfly to complete its annual migration (Xerces.org). Analysis of Southern California occurrences of the monarch butterfly shows that their migration patterns have been interrupted wherein the monarch’s coastal population appears to have increased whereas its inland population has decreased. One factor is the introduction of a tropical invader: Asclepias curassavica. The evergreen nature of tropical milkweed decreases the monarch’s drive to migrate due to its promise of abundant brooding habitat (Faldyn 2018), indicating a strong correlation and possible causation between Asclepias curassavica and the disruption of the monarch butterfly’s migration patterns. More research is needed in a larger scale study inclusive of the entire California overwinter monarch range and exploration of other factors such as climate change and land use change.

Keywords: Danaus plexippus, monarch butterfly, milkweed, Asclepias fascicularis, Asclepias curassavica, migration, Southern California.