Here’s a big “Thank you” to Karen Oberhauser for her fascinating presentation “All About Monarchs” on May 21! Thanks also to Berta Parker and Oak Park Place for hosting this event. There were close to 50 people in attendance, who listened closely and asked many pertinent questions. The talk covered the biology and life cycle of the butterflies as individuals, as well as the cycle of their population as they migrate to Mexico for the winter, and make their way in the spring to their breeding range in the northern U.S. and southern Canada. The same Monarch individuals that migrate to Mexico live there all winter and then come up as far as the southern U.S., mainly Texas. They lay eggs there and the next generation flies north to continue breeding.
Karen presented a data analysis that concludes that loss of milkweed due to glyphosate herbicide use is a major factor in population declines. Weather, either too hot or too cool, is also a factor. She also skillfully answered questions about the mating habits of Monarchs, in “G-rated” detail. That includes the fact that the female stores sperm from several matings, but uses the freshest, most recent to fertilize her eggs. Who knew?? Thanks, everyone, for attending! I think we all came away with a great appreciation for how remarkable and unique this butterfly is, as well as how vital it is to do as much as we can to protect and conserve its population