Current Monarch Butterflies News and Events

Current Monarch Butterflies News and Events, Monarch Butterflies News Articles.
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Animal evolution -- glimpses of ancient environments
Zoologists at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich report the discovery of a trove of fossil fly larvae, and an intriguing caterpillar, encapsulated in samples of amber that are tens of millions of years old. (2021-02-19)

New study finds climate change shrinks and shifts juvenile white shark range
Unprecedented sightings of juvenile white sharks at the northern end of Monterey Bay signal a significant shift in the young white sharks' range. Researchers conclude the northward range shift demonstrates the young sharks are being subjected to a loss of suitable thermal habitat, meaning water temperatures within their preferred temperature range are becoming harder to find. (2021-02-09)

Ecological interactions as a driver of evolution
In a recent study, an international team of researchers including TUD botanist Prof. Stefan Wanke has investigated the origin of the mega-diversity of herbivorous insects. These account for a quarter of terrestrial diversity. The results of the study were recently published in the international journal Nature Communications. There the scientists show that the evolutionary success of insects may be linked to recurrent changes in host plants. (2021-02-09)

Color is in the eye of the beholder
Researchers led by Harvard University develop a novel method to express long wavelength invertebrate opsin proteins in vitro and detail the molecular structure of long- and short-wavelengths in the opsins of the lycaenid butterfly, Eumaeus atala, discovering previously unknown opsins that result in red-shifted long wavelength sensitivity in their visual system. The new method pinpoints the specific base pair changes responsible for the spectral tuning of these visual proteins and reveal how vision genes evolved. (2021-02-09)

Scientists discover how a group of caterpillars became poisonous
The Atala butterfly and its five closest relatives in the genus Eumaeus like to display their toxicity. Their toxicity comes from what they eat as caterpillars: plants called cycads that have been around since before dinosaurs roamed the Earth and contain a potent liver toxin. New research tells the evolutionary tale of how these butterflies gained their toxin-laced defenses as well as the bold colors and behaviors that tell all would-be predators to steer clear. (2021-02-08)

All in the head? Brains adapt to support new species
Scientists studying forest dwelling butterflies in Central and South America have discovered that changes in the way animals perceive and process information from their environment can support the emergence of new species. The study led by the University of Bristol, and published today [9 February] in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), has implications for how new species might evolve and the underappreciated role of changes in the brain. (2021-02-08)

New study strengthens claims Richard III murdered 'the Princes in the Tower
King Richard III's involvement in one of the most notorious and emotive mysteries in English history may be a step closer to being confirmed following a new study by Professor Tim Thornton of the University of Huddersfield. (2021-02-01)

Butterfly wing clap explains mystery of flight
The fluttery flight of butterflies has so far been somewhat of a mystery to researchers, given their unusually large and broad wings relative to their body size. Now researchers at Lund University in Sweden have studied the aerodynamics of butterflies in a wind tunnel. The results suggest that butterflies use a highly effective clap technique, therefore making use of their unique wings. This helps them rapidly take off when escaping predators. (2021-01-20)

Male butterflies mark their mates with repulsive smell during sex to 'turn off' other suitors
Butterflies have evolved to produce a strongly scented chemical in their genitals that they leave behind after sex to deter other males from pursuing their women - scientists have found. Researchers discovered a chemical made in the sex glands of the males of one species of tropical butterfly is identical to a chemical produced by flowers to attract butterflies. The study published in PLOS Biology today (19 January 2021) identified a gene for the first time. (2021-01-19)

Asian butterfly populations show different mimicry patterns thanks to genetic 'switch'
A new study by researchers at the University of Chicago and the City College of New York (CCNY) has identified a unique, genetic ''mimicry switch'' that determines whether or not male and female Elymnias hypermnestra palmflies mimic the same or different species of butterflies. (2021-01-13)

Powerhouse plants that bolster the food web
Researchers have identified the most critical plants needed to sustain food webs across the United States. Their study drills down to the top plants in each county and bioregion, illuminating a plan for how to restore ecosystems anywhere in the country. (2020-12-14)

The very hungry, angry caterpillars
In the absence of milkweed--their favorite food--monarch butterfly caterpillars (Danaus plexippus) go from peaceful feeders to aggressive fighters. Researchers reporting in the journal iScience on November 19 observed that caterpillars with less access to food were more likely to lunge at others to knock them aside, and caterpillars were most aggressive during the final stages before metamorphosis. (2020-11-19)

Very hungry and angry, caterpillars head-butt to get what they want
When food is scarce, monarch butterfly caterpillars go from docile to domineering. The results look something like a combination of boxing and ''bumper'' cars. The less food, the more likely caterpillars were to try to head-butt each other out of the way to get their fill, lunging and knocking aside other caterpillars to ensure their own survival. And, they are most aggressive right before the final stages of their metamorphosis. (2020-11-19)

The secret social lives of giant poisonous rats
The African crested rat is the only mammal known to sequester plant toxins for chemical defense. A new study confirmed that the rabbit-sized rodent licks poison from the bark of Acokanthera schimperi, known as the poison arrow tree, into specialized fur. The researchers also discovered an unexpected social life--the rats appear to be monogamous and may even form small family units with their offspring. (2020-11-19)

Two centuries of Monarch butterflies show evolution of wing length
North America's beloved Monarch butterflies are known for their annual, multi-generation migrations in which individual insects can fly for thousands of miles. But Monarchs have also settled in some locations where their favorite food plants grow year round, so they no longer need to migrate. A new study of specimens collected over the last two centuries shows how wing length evolves in response to migration habits. (2020-11-02)

Butterfly color diversity due to female preferences
Butterflies have long captured our attention due to their amazing color diversity. But why are they so colorful? A new publication led by researchers from Sweden and Germany suggests that female influence butterfly color diversity by mating with colorful males. (2020-10-27)

A new species of Darwin wasp from Mexico named in observance of the 2020 quarantine period
Scientists at the Autonomous University of Tamaulipas in Mexico recently discovered five new species of parasitoid wasps in Mexico, but the name of one of them is quite striking: covida. Described in a new paper, published in the peer-reviewed, open-access scientific journal ZooKeys, the new to science Darwin wasp was identified during the 2020 global quarantine period, imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (2020-10-08)

Native milkweed cultivars planted by the public can support monarch butterflies and bees
Millions of people plant pollinator gardens in an effort to provide monarch butterflies with food along their annual migration route from overwintering sites in the highland forests of central Mexico to summer breeding grounds in the United States and southern Canada. For the first time, entomologists studied how effective native milkweed cultivars in small gardens are at attracting and supporting monarchs - their results suggest that this can be a valuable additional food source. (2020-10-07)

Evolution: Shifts in mating preference
In their efforts to identify the genetic basis for differences in mate choice that keep two co-existing species of butterfly separate, evolutionary biologists at Ludwig-Maximlians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich have identified five candidate genes that are associated with divergence in visual mating preferences. (2020-10-06)

Sentinels of ocean acidification impacts survived Earth's last mass extinction
Two groups of tiny, delicate marine organisms, sea butterflies and sea angels, were found to be surprisingly resilient--having survived dramatic global climate change and Earth's most recent mass extinction event 66 million years ago, according to research published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. (2020-09-28)

Provide shady spots to protect butterflies from climate change, say scientists
Researchers have discovered significant variations in the ability of different UK butterfly species to maintain a suitable body temperature. Species that rely most on finding a suitably shady location to keep cool are at the greatest risk of population decline. The results predict how climate change might impact butterfly communities, and will inform conservation strategies to protect them. (2020-09-24)

Silk offers homemade solution for COVID-19 prevention
A University of Cincinnati biology study found that silk fabric performs similarly to surgical masks when used in conjunction with respirators but has the added advantages of being washable and repelling water, which would translate to helping to keep a person safer from the airborne virus. (2020-09-22)

Biologists developing global citizen network to monitor insect abundance
A University of Arkansas biologist is part of an international team of researchers is building a volunteer network of citizen scientists to help monitor the abundance of dragonflies and damselflies. (2020-09-16)

Climate change recasts the insect communities of the Arctic
Through a unique research collaboration, researchers at the University of Helsinki have exposed major changes taking place in the insect communities of the Arctic. Their study reveals how climate change is affecting small but important predators of other insects, i.e. parasitoids. (2020-09-11)

Over a century later, the mystery of the Alfred Wallace's butterfly is solved
An over a century-long mystery has been surrounding the Taiwanese butterfly fauna ever since the 'father of zoogeography' Alfred Russel Wallace described a new species of butterfly: Lycaena nisa, whose identity was only re-examined in a recent project looking into the butterflies of Taiwan. Based on the original specimens, in addition to newly collected ones, Dr Yu-Feng Hsu of the National Taiwan Normal University resurrected the species name and added two new synonyms to it. (2020-09-10)

New subspecies of the rarest Palaearctic butterfly found in the Arctic Circle of Yakutia
An isolated population of the rarest Palaearctic butterfly species: the Arctic Apollo (Parnassius arcticus), turned out to be a new to science subspecies with distinct looks as well as DNA. Specimens had been collected during a 2019 field trip to northeastern Yakutiya (Russia), a ''real blank spot'' in terms of biodiversity research. The unique butterfly is described by Russian scientists in a recent paper, published in the peer-reviewed, open-access scientific journal Acta Biologica Sibirica. (2020-09-08)

Poetry in motion: Engineers analyze the fluid physics of movement in marine snails
In a new interdisciplinary study that combines intellectual curiosity with awe, researchers show in detail that the swimming and sinking behaviors of tropical marine snails are influenced by body size and shell shape, as predicted from fluid physics theory. (2020-09-07)

'Wrong-way' migrations stop shellfish from escaping ocean warming
Ocean warming is paradoxically driving bottom-dwelling invertebrates -- including sea scallops, blue mussels, surfclams and quahogs that are valuable to the shellfish industry -- into warmer waters and threatening their survival, a Rutgers-led study shows. (2020-09-07)

In butterfly battle of sexes, males deploy 'chastity belts' but females fight back
Some male butterflies seal their mate's genitalia with a waxy 'chastity belt' to prevent future liaisons. But female butterflies can fight back. Could this sexual one-upmanship ultimately result in new species? (2020-09-03)

New study on migration success reinforces need for monarch butterfly milkweed habitat
A recently published study presents evidence that the migration success of monarchs hasn't declined in recent years and thus cannot explain the steep decline in the monarch population over the last few decades. The study drew on data collected on 1.4 million monarch butterflies that were tagged in the United States Midwest from 1998 to 2015 and emphasizes the need for new monarch habitat. (2020-09-02)

Medieval texts reveal false Royal Navy origins
England's proud maritime history credits Alfred the Great as having established the Royal Navy but evidence from medieval text uncovered by Flinders University researchers show this popularly held belief to be false. (2020-08-23)

Migration and dispersal of butterflies have contrasting effect on flight morphology
Migration and dispersal are vastly different activities with very different benefits and risks. NCBS Grad student Vaishali Bhaumik and her advisor Dr Krushnamegh Kunte decided to investigate the effects of such activities on the morphology (form and structure) and reproduction of butterflies. (2020-08-19)

Vagabonding female butterflies weigh in on reproductive strategies
A new study by researchers from the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), Bengaluru, published today in the Royal Society's journal Biology Letters, shows that dispersals, when undertaken by butterflies in search of unpredictable resources, selectively burden the egg-carrying females on their long flights. (2020-08-19)

Findings refute idea of monarchs' migration mortality as major cause of population decline
Research shows that the decline in the monarchs' overwintering numbers is not due to an increase in the deaths of monarchs during the migration. The main determinant of yearly variation in overwintering population size is the size of the summer monarch butterfly population. (2020-08-17)

Monarchs raised in captivity may be worse at migrating than wild monarchs raised outdoors
New research provides clearer picture of the migration behavior of commercially and wild-derived monarchs and the effects of indoor rearing on ability to fly south. (2020-08-04)

Butterfly genomics: Monarchs migrate and fly differently, but meet up and mate
A new study confirms that while the eastern and western butterflies fly differently, they are genetically the same. The journal Molecular Ecology published the findings, led by evolutionary biologists at Emory University. (2020-07-29)

Scientists discover how deep-sea, ultra-black fish disappear
In the July 16 issue of the journal Current Biology, a team of scientists led by Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History research zoologist Karen Osborn and Duke University biologist Sönke Johnsen report on how a unique arrangement of pigment-packed granules enables some fish to absorb nearly all of the light that hits their skin, so that as little as 0.05% of that light is reflected back. (2020-07-16)

The tug-of-war at the heart of cellular symmetry
Researchers develop an artificial cell that brings to light the dynamics that govern each cell's internal symmetry. Two coexisting actomyosin networks with opposing functions exists in cells: a ring-like centripetal actomyosin that pushes toward the center, and radially-formed bulk actomyosin bridges that pull to the edges. (2020-06-25)

Scientists unravel the evolution and relationships for all European butterflies in a first
For the first time, a complete time-calibrated phylogeny for a large group of invertebrates is published for an entire continent. In a research paper in the open-access, peer-reviewed academic journal ZooKeys, a German-Swedish team of scientists provide a diagrammatic hypothesis of the relationships and evolutionary history for all 496 extant European species of butterflies. Their work provides an important tool for evolutionary and ecological research, meant for the use of insect and ecosystem conservation. (2020-06-15)

Milkweed, only food source for monarch caterpillars, ubiquitously contaminated
New evidence identifies 64 pesticide residues in milkweed, the main food for monarch butterflies in the west. Milkweed samples from all of the locations studied in California's Central Valley were contaminated with pesticides, sometimes at levels harmful to monarchs and other insects. 32% of the samples contained pesticide levels known to be lethal to monarchs, according to a study released today in Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution. (2020-06-08)

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