Monarch butterfly and milkweed relationship help

monarch butterfly and milkweed relationship help

Please plant milkweed to support monarch populations, and their incredible migration! Planting milkweed is a great way to help other pollinators too, as they. Monarch butterflies are still fluttering through our gardens, along our roadways, even out into Is the relationship between monarch and milkweed mutually beneficial or a lopsided arrangement that only helps the monarch?. This symbiotic relationship, in which the Monarch helps pollinate the plant that Milkweed plants are critical for this butterfly species' survival.

monarch butterfly and milkweed relationship help

Understanding how milkweed species influence monarch development and survival will be critical in choosing milkweed species for monarch habitat restoration, and given the large number of acres that are being planted, this knowledge could also have significant economic implications. Larvae were reared on A.

monarch butterfly and milkweed relationship help

Upon eclosion, adults were tested for Ophryocystis elektroscirrha OE. Adults that tested negative for OE were allowed to mate and eggs were collected for propagation of the colony on a weekly basis. Twelve generations of colony breeding preceded the beginning of this experiment; inbreeding should not affect monarch preferences as colony breeding for multiple generations did not influence monarch growth or performance on different milkweeds Ladner and Altizer Milkweed Feeding Assay Milkweeds of all nine species were grown from seed without the use of chemical pesticides in a greenhouse Growing conditions represent a middle ground among the nine species tested.

Seeds were sown into cell plug trays Landmark Plastics, Akron, OH and then at approximately 6 wk following germination were transplanted into 8. Plants ranged from 10 to 30 cm in height depending on milkweed species. Milkweeds were 8 wk old when used in each trial; all plants were healthy with undamaged leaves at the start of each trial. Each plant was watered and placed into a water-filled, waxed paper cup. One neonate was added to each plant.

The experiment was arranged in a randomized complete block design with the block including one plant of each of the nine milkweed species growing in each pop up cage. Each trial six blocks was replicated six times for a total of 36 blocks.

All blocks were kept on the same bench in the greenhouse Larvae were monitored for survivorship on Days 5, 10, and 14, when the larvae ranged from second to fifth instar. Beginning at Day 10, we monitored each cage for pupae in order to record the most accurate pupation date; we did not monitor young larvae daily in order to reduce stress on the larvae and young milkweed plants.

Milkweed plants were watered daily, and additional milkweed plants were added on Days 6 and 10 to provide adequate food for each larva. No larvae ran out of food over the course of this experiment. Larvae were monitored daily for pupation starting at Day Following pupation, chrysalids were allowed to sclerotize in the greenhouse for 24 h after which they were removed from each cage and transported to the laboratory.

monarch butterfly and milkweed relationship help

Upon eclosion, adult emergence date and sex were recorded. Live adults were weighed to the nearest hundredth of a milligram after allowing their wings to harden for 24 h. Adult forewing length and hindwing length were measured to the nearest hundredth of a millimeter using digital calipers Neiko Tools ; adults were then frozen for subsequent lipid extraction.

Data are presented both as average milligrams of lipid and lipid as a percentage of butterfly mass for butterflies that fed on each milkweed species. Statistical Analysis Data were analyzed using R version 3. Within each experiment, data were combined across trials 36 blocks totalas blocks were not significantly different from one another. Differences in survival were determined using a log rank test on the Kaplan—Meier survival estimates for larvae that fed on each milkweed species.

Pairwise log-rank tests were used to compare species Jokela et al.

Monarchs and Milkweed – The Precarious Cycle | My Altona Forest

A one-way ANOVA was used to assess differences in pupal and adult responses mass, pupal length, pupal width, forewing length, and hindwing length among milkweed species. A Tukey HSD test was used to assess pairwise differences in larval development time among milkweed species. A one-way ANOVA was used to assess differences in total percent of lipids between groups relative to the milkweed species they were fed.

A Tukey HSD test was used to assess pairwise differences in lipid percentages. Sexes were pooled for all analyses, as there were no significant differences when males and females were analyzed separately.

Fewer monarchs that fed on A. No other pairwise differences in survival were significant. When survival was analyzed in 5-d increments, there were no differences in the proportion of larvae that survived on each milkweed species Fig. Between pupation and eclosion, there was high mortality in both A. There were no differences in larval or pupal duration, defined by number of days as a larva all instars combinedor as a pupa, among feeding treatments.

When you see a monarch arrive in your garden, stop and realize that it has taken generations to get here.

monarch butterfly and milkweed relationship help

They slowly began to make their way across the US and stopped to have another generation. If all goes well, the second or third generation will make it to your back yard. Many starve if they cannot find sufficient wildflower nectar in farmlands to sustain them, and rainstorms, windstorms, and pesticides are often fatal to them. There is a symbiotic relationship between the native milkweed plants and the monarch. The monarch butterflies enjoy the nectar from the flowers and help pollinate the plants.

Unfortunately, there are no substitutes for where monarchs can lay their eggs. Swamp milkweed in Altona Forest damp growing conditions Monarch on common milkweed dry growing conditions Milkweed is a broad-leafed native plant that is used by monarchs as their only nursery.

Monarchs lay eggs on the undersides of the leaves and their larvae become striped caterpillars and feed on the leaves as they develop.

Without the milkweed, the caterpillars would die — but Ontario put milkweed on the noxious weeds list which forced its eradication. The monarch caterpillars are not affected by the mildly toxic nature of this plant and become toxic themselves which makes them less attractive prey creating their defense mechanism.

Building a Relationship with Monarchs

Monarchs feed and breed in Ontario summers. Come colder weather, they make that astounding migration south.

monarch butterfly and milkweed relationship help

The south-traveling generation are by far the longest-lived of the 4 generations. It mimics the native milkweed in many ways — but cannot sustain monarchs.