The indescribable beauty of monarch butterflies filling the sky (video) This stunning short film takes us to Mexico during monarch migration where millions of butterflies take to the trees and sky. (Oh, and it's narrated by Meryl Streep, that never hurts.)|
Monarchs in trees in Mexico: Screen capture Vimeo
Butterflies play a large part in food webs and food chains – at all stages of their lifecycle they can be a food item for other animals. When the flora or fauna on the lower part of a food web or food chain is impacted by climate change, the fauna on the higher end can also be impacted. In a food chain each subsequent level depends on the previous level, therefore, a disruption at the lowest level can cause problems that echo throughout the chain. Nearly two-thirds of all invertebrates can be connected back to the butterfly on the food chain. If animals cannot adapt to these changes by finding other food sources or other organisms to provide specific services (like pollination), they could be at risk for population decline – there is a reason that they call it the “Butterfly Effect.”
The impact on butterfly loss is felt all the way up to humans. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, “Some scientists estimate that one out of every three bites of food we eat exists because of animal pollinators like bees, butterflies and moths, birds and bats, and beetles and other insects.” As bee populations dwindle as a result of rampant pesticide use, bats decline with habitat loss, and butterfly populations wane, we’re left with few options to turn to. Our entire food system hinges on the single job of pollinators so it is in all of our best interest to actively work to restore these important pollinator species.
There are many daily actions that you can take to help the butterfly population recover. While changing the course of global climate change might be daunting, you can take action through your food choices. The livestock system is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than any other industry, so by cutting down on the amount of meat and dairy you consume – or eliminating it entirely, you can lower your personal participation in this destructive industry. By simply leaving meat off your plate, you can halve your carbon footprint.
You can also take direct actions to help butterflies by planting native milkweed in your area. Milkweed is the primary food source of Monarchs and other butterfly species. Check out these other resources to learn how you can help these struggling pollinators:
Butterfly Conservation British
Green Hairstreak / Purple Hairstreak - British butterflies
Parnassius Butterfly Parnassius is a genus of northern circumpolar and montane (alpine and Himalayan) butterflies usually known as Apollos. They can vary in colour and form significantly based on their altitude. They also show an adaptation to high altitudes called altitudinal melanism. They show dark bodies and darkened colouration at the wingbase which helps them warm faster using the sun. [Featured in the novel, People of the book, by Geraldine Brooks - Colby]
Apollo / Parnassius Butterfly
Geranium Argus Butterly The Geranium Argus (Eumedonia eumedon) is a butterfly of the Lycaenidae family. It is found in the Palearctic ecozone [Europe]. This butterfly has been included in the genera Plebejus, Plebeius, Polyommatus and Aricia, but recent molecular studies have demonstrated that Eumedonia is a valid genus, different to the previous genera mentioned.
The wingspan is 26–30 mm. The butterfly flies from May to August depending on the location.
The larvae feed on Geranium species.
Geranium Argus Butterfly
Karner blue The Karner blue (Lycaeides melissa samuelis) is an endangered subspecies of small blue butterfly which was once found in significant numbers in the Miller Beach community of the Indiana Dunes National Park. The butterfly is now mainly found in other parts of the Great Lakes states, such as Wisconsin and Michigan, in small areas of New Jersey, and also in southern New Hampshire, and the Capital District region of New York. The butterfly, whose life cycle depends on the wild blue lupine flower (Lupinus perennis), was classified as an endangered species in 1992. In May 2000, the Canadian Species at Risk Act listed the Karner blue as being locally extinct in Canada
Karner Blue Butterfly
Swallowtail Butterfly Swallowtail butterflies are large, colorful butterflies in the family Papilionidae, and include over 550 species.Though the majority are tropical, members of the family inhabit every continent except Antarctica. The family includes the largest butterflies in the world, the birdwing butterflies of the genus Ornithoptera.
Scotch argus The Scotch argus (Erebia aethiops) is a Palaearctic butterfly of the Nymphalidae family. It has a wide range including the French Alps, Germany, Balkans, Apennines, Asia Minor, the Urals, Caucasus, and Sajan... In Europe and Russia, it is a forest edge butterfly found up to 2400 m and flying June to August. The hibernating larva is reported to feed on Agrostis, Dactylis, Poa, and other grasses.
Scotch Argus Butterfly
Sulfur Butterfly The cloudless sulphur or cloudless giant sulphur (Phoebis sennae) is a midsized butterfly in the family Pieridae found in the New World. There are several similar species such as the yellow angled-sulphur (Anteos maerula), which has angled wings, or other sulphurs, which are much smaller.
Cloudless Sulfur Butterfly
Brown argus Aricia agestis, the brown argus, is a butterfly in the family Lycaenidae. It is found throughout the Palearctic ecozone North to northern Jutland (Denmark) and East to Siberia and Tian Shan.
Brown Argus Butterfly [Charles J. Sharp photo on left]
Blushing Phantom Butterfly /
Butterfly Blue Hairstreak
Send comments to email@example.com, Colby Glass, MLIS, Professor Emeritus