How Monarch Butterflies Found (and Lost) Their Migration

This is what happens when corporations rule the government. Our government is approving herbicide resistant plants and it is allowing continued use of pesticides, both of which eliminate monarch butterflies and many other species. Let’s sign every petition, send every email, divest in toxic polluters, and vote for any conservation conscious politicians that run.

strange behaviors

monarch cluster by Jaap de Roodee Monarchs at their overwintering site cluster against the cold (Photo: Jaap de Roodee)

As the monarch butterfly migration faces a worsening risk of extinction, a research team has discovered the basis of that legendary migration in a single gene. Genetic analysis also suggests that monarch butterflies originated here in North America, not in the tropics, as previously thought.

Here’s the press release:

The monarch butterfly is one of the most iconic insects in the world, best known for its distinct orange and black wings and a spectacular annual mass migration across North America. However, little has been known about the genes that underlie these famous traits, even as the insect’s storied migration appears to be in peril.

Sequencing the genomes of monarch butterflies from around the world, a team of scientists has now made surprising new insights into the monarch’s genetics. They identified a single gene that appears central…

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