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Posts tagged: monarch butterfly

Not All Monarchs Migrate! The Puerto Rican Subspecies Stays Put

Posted by Julie Wright, Caribbean Area Acting Public Affairs Specialist on June 23, 2016 at 01:08 PM
A Puerto Rican monarch butterfly in a garden at the University of Puerto Rico's Utuado butterfly house.

A Puerto Rican monarch butterfly in a garden at the University of Puerto Rico's Utuado butterfly house.

The monarch butterfly is the iconic butterfly native of the Americas. The black-and-orange butterfly can migrate thousands of miles each year from North America and South America to Mexico. But the subspecies in Puerto Rico, Danaus plexippus portorricensis, is considered non-migrant. It likes to stay put! 


The Puerto Rican monarch butterfly was identified in 1941 as a separate subspecies. It has also been found in the Virgin Islands, Cuba, the Cayman Islands, St. Lucia and Jamaica.  


The adult Puerto Rican monarch grows up to 40 millimeters in size, and there are few differences to distinguish between the sexes. Like the monarch, the Puerto Rican monarch is particular about its host plants. Monarch butterflies depend on milkweed to lay their eggs, and the plant provides the only food source for monarch caterpillars.  Read more >>

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Tags: Caribbean Area, pollinators, monarch butterfly

categories Plants & Animals, Discover Conservation


Oregon Ranchers Nurture Milkweed, Lure Monarchs

Posted by Tracy Robillard, Oregon Public Affairs Specialist on June 01, 2016 at 08:31 AM
Laurie Halsey examines a cluster of milkweed plants on her ranch.

Laurie Halsey examines a cluster of milkweed plants on her ranch.

If you plant them, they will come.

That’s Warren and Laurie Halsey’s approach to improving monarch butterfly habitat on their 270-acre ranch in Benton County, Oregon.

“If there’s no milkweed, there’s no place for the monarchs to lay their eggs. They depend on it,” Warren said. “We started planting milkweed about 12 years ago when we got some seeds from the Audubon Society. We took it on as an experiment and planted them in different spots on the property. It was a struggle getting the plants going, but we figured out what worked and what didn’t. And then, when the monarchs appear, it’s a blessing. You just get really excited.”

After a decade of trial and error, and with help from multiple volunteers and partners, the Halseys now have 19 active milkweed clusters on their ranch. This year, they reported seeing more monarchs than ever before. Read more >>

Tags: Oregon, monarch butterfly, wetlands, pollinators

categories Plants & Animals, Conservation Programs, Environment, Farmer & Rancher Stories, Landscape Initiatives


Wildflowers Provide Critical Habitat for Wildlife and Pollinators

Posted by Justin Fritscher on May 03, 2016 at 02:21 PM
A monarch butterfly gathers nectar from a milkweed flower. NRCS helps agricultural producers plant Milkweed on farms, ranches and working forests to help the monarch and other species. USFWS photo.

A monarch butterfly gathers nectar from a milkweed flower. NRCS helps agricultural producers plant Milkweed on farms, ranches and working forests to help the monarch and other species. USFWS photo.

It all begins with a seed. Filled with food and information, it one day grows into something beautiful―a wildflower. And before the flower’s time is done, it has shared pollen and nectar for an abundance of bees, butterflies, beetles and other pollinators. When the flower is gone, it leaves behind fruit or seeds to feed wildlife, or to begin the cycle anew.

From prairies to roadsides and bogs to hillsides, wildflowers provide vital food and habitat for wildlife and pollinators. They’re an essential part of ecosystems and benefit conservation efforts on America’s private lands.

This week marks National Wildflower Week, a great time for everyone to celebrate the importance of native wildflowers. As native plants, they’re more resistant to pests, more resilient to climate extremes and require less maintenance. Plus, they’re beautiful! Read more >>

Tags: wildflowers, pollinators, conservation, milkweed, monarch butterfly

categories Plants & Animals