Archives for 2017

Aug
16
Royals Are on the Move!

Regina, SK – August 14th, 2017 – Monarch butterflies are a spectacular creature. Not only are they absolutely beautiful but they complete the longest and largest insect migration in North America! Millions of Monarchs fly thousands of kilometres from their summer habitats to their wintering grounds. Saskatchewan is at the northern extent of the Monarch’s range and Nature Saskatchewan is asking the public to keep an eye out for these royal butterflies to help monitor their population and aid in habitat conservation efforts.

Monarchs are a species at risk and numbers have dropped by as much as 90% across North America. The three lowest overwintering populations in Mexico on record occurred in the last 5 years. One of the largest threats to the butterflies is habitat loss, both in the winter and summer breeding grounds­, due to logging, destructive bark beetles, agriculture, urban development, and pesticide use affecting milkweed and wildflowers.

Monarch butterflies are identifiable by their bright orange colouring and black veins through their wings, along with white spots on their black body and trailing the outside edges of the wings. A male Monarch has two distinct dots on its hindwing, which distinguishes it from a female. “Don’t be fooled – there are a few Monarch lookalikes, the most notorious of which is the Viceroy,” explains Ashley Vass, Habitat Stewardship Coordinator with Nature Saskatchewan. “The colouring and patterns are very similar to the Monarch, but a Viceroy has an extra stripe on its hindwings which intersects the other veins.”

“We haven’t had any Monarchs reported to our hotline yet this year, but I am hoping public sightings will start coming in soon”, says Vass. Nature Saskatchewan delivers a voluntary stewardship program called Stewards of Saskatchewan that works with rural landowners to conserve habitat for species at risk. They are asking anyone who sees a Monarch butterfly to report the sighting. “It is also really helpful if you are able to provide a picture with your sighting so we can verify that it isn’t one of the many lookalikes” adds Vass. If you see a Monarch butterfly in Saskatchewan, or for more information, call Nature Saskatchewan’s toll-free line at 1-800-667-HOOT (4668).

 

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For further information please contact Nature Saskatchewan (English only):

           

Ashley Vass (306) 780-9832, email outreach@naturesask.ca
Habitat Stewardship Coordinator               

Rebecca Magnus (306) 780-9270, email rmagnus@naturesask.ca
Acting Species at Risk Manager

 

 

Monarch Butterfly - M. Ranalli

 

 

Monarch Caterpillar - S. Vinge-Mazer

 

 

Viceroy Butterfly - A. Sanborn

 

 

Viceroy Butterfly - J. Van Parys

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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