Archive for January 5th, 2015

Monarch Week: The Value of Monarch Butterflies

Monday, January 5th, 2015


Monarch butterflies on hand.

Monarch butterflies on hand.

This is Passport to Texas

The gorgeous monarch butterfly is on the decline; efforts are afoot to conserve them. Yet, they’re not great pollinators, or a significant food source for other critters, so is being pretty reason enough to keep them around?

11—I think it’s important not to de-emphasize how important this is. If you’re ever out on a Texas river in the fall, and you have hundreds or thousands of monarchs coming through – that’s a fabulous natural phenomenon.

Ben Hutchins makes a good point. He is Texas Parks and Wildlife’s invertebrate biologist, and says the insects have a practical value in Mexico where they overwinter.

06— Overwintering monarchs are a really important source of economic income as tourists come from around the world to see them.

Conserving monarchs also benefits other Texas species.

30—Monarch conservation, benefits a whole suite of other species. So, for example, if you’re managing a landscape to benefit monarchs, you’re also going to be benefitting many other pollinators. They also benefit a host of larger species. For example, if you’re managing habitat – keeping it open as a prairie or savannah – that’s going to be benefitting upland bird species like quail; so there’s really an economic incentive of for being conscious of monarchs when we’re managing landscapes.

Tomorrow: a new citizen science project to help monarchs.

Funding provided in part by Ram Trucks. Guts. Glory. Ram

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.