Monarch Watch Update - October 22, 2004
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Contents:

1) Report on Deforestation in Mexico

2) New Update Index

3) Status of the Population

4) Tag Recoveries

5) Western Monarchs

6) Pesticides Used on Pets and Monarch Rearing

7) Scaleless monarchs

8) Monarchs in Spain

9) Upcoming Monarch Events

10) New DVD on Butterflies and Skippers

11) About Our Update List

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Unless otherwise noted, all content was authored by Chip Taylor, edited by Jim Lovett and Sarah Schmidt, and published by Jim Lovett. The complete web version of this update is available at: http://www.MonarchWatch.org/update/2004/1022.html

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1) Report on Deforestation in Mexico

If you have been following the Updates, you know that in the last 6 months there has been extensive deforestation in Mexico in the vicinity of the overwintering monarch colonies. The deforestation has occurred in both the buffer zones and the core areas that constitute the Monarch Biosphere Reserve. In previous Updates (May-July 2004) we provided a number of translations of articles that appeared in the Mexican press concerning the deforestation and the government's attempts to control it. We also referred (June 2004 Update) to the efforts by World Wildlife Fund Mexico to document the extent of the deforestation and the various efforts by landowners to block the illegal logging. Thanks to WWF Mexico, in particular Omar Vidal, Carlos Galindo-Leal, and Jordi Honey RosÚs, we are now able to provide an English translation of the WWF Mexico report on the extent of the illegal logging over the last three years and its impact on the Monarch Biosphere Reserve. ...

[ Read the full text of this article at http://www.MonarchWatch.org/update/2004/1022.html#1 ]

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2) New Update Index

We have improved the update article index so that it is a little more useful. The main index page at

http://www.MonarchWatch.org/update

provides information about the updates in general (how to subscribe, what to expect, etc.) as well as easy access to the current year's updates, in reverse chronological order so that the most recent update is at the top of the list. This index includes the month and the article listing so that you can easily find the articles you are looking for.

You also have the option of viewing previous update listings by year or all years:

http://www.MonarchWatch.org/update/index_allyears.html

The "All Years" index is handy if you have an article topic in mind but you can't remember when it was posted - just visit that page and quickly scroll through the article topics or use your web browser's "find" feature to search for keywords within the article titles.

If you have any suggestions about this or other aspects of the updates and/or website in general please feel free to drop me a line anytime! - Jim ([log in to unmask])

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3) Status of the Population

Throughout the late summer and fall all the signs have indicated that this migration is a small one and that the monarch population overwintering in Mexico this winter will be well below average. This is the case even though several observers in Texas have seen large numbers of monarchs (10s to 100s of thousands) in several locations close to the border. Mike Quinn, of Texas Parks and Wildlife, asks people throughout Texas to report sightings of monarchs and he notes the pattern of these reports and posts the accounts to the Monarch Watch email discussion list, Dplex-L. Many reports confirm that observers are seeing fewer monarchs this year and Mike has described the path of the migration through Texas this year as narrower than usual, again suggestive of a relatively small population ...

[ Read the full text of this article at http://www.MonarchWatch.org/update/2004/1022.html#3 ]

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4) Tag Recoveries

We are diligently working through tag recoveries and can use your help. We have discovered a small number of tags for which we have no distribution record (we do not know who received and/or used them) and no datasheet. The tags (from different years) in question are:

BJO553
BKN761
BKX212
CAF404
CIC460
CIC481
CIC496
CIC530
UO805
UU206

Please check your copy of your datasheets to see if any of these tags are yours. If so, (or if you can help us track down the tagger) please let us know - thanks!

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5) Western Monarchs

There are three items of interest concerning western monarch populations this month; the arrival of monarchs at overwintering sites in California, the last stretch drive to raise money for Ellwood Main, and the creation of a web resource for information on California monarchs ...

[ Read the full text of this article at http://www.MonarchWatch.org/update/2004/1022.html#5 ]

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6) Pesticides Used on Pets and Monarch Rearing

I'll bet you haven't heard the word "imidacloprid" before. Would it surprise you to learn that you have probably been exposed it and that it may even be extensively distributed throughout your house? Imidacloprid is the main ingredient in numerous new insecticides ... it might affect those monarch caterpillars you've brought into the house, especially if you go directly from handling your pets to feeding your caterpillars ...

[ Read the full text of this article at http://www.MonarchWatch.org/update/2004/1022.html#6 ]

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7) Scaleless monarchs

In late August, Cathy Schlegel, a staff member at the Minnesota Zoo, posted the following message to Dplex-L: "I had a Monarch emerge from its chrysalis yesterday that has no scales on its wings. Except for the veins, the wings are clear. The body is strange too. Head and thorax appear normal but the abdomen is black on the top and bottom and lime green on the sides. This butterfly is the offspring of two farm-raised Monarchs and was reared in a butterfly exhibit at a Zoo. Has anyone seen this before? The caterpillar and chrysalis must have been normal because they (zoo staff) didn't notice anything different until emergence."

A strange account indeed! I had never heard of a scaleless monarch or an adult Lepidoptera of any species in which the wings and body were totally scaleless. ...

[ Read the full text of this article at http://www.MonarchWatch.org/update/2004/1022.html#7 ]

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8) Monarchs in Spain

In September and October in most years, monarchs are seen in coastal areas in Ireland, England and sometimes France and Holland. These sightings often give rise to speculations as to the origins of these monarchs. Most of the speculation focuses on a North American origin with passing mention given to the possibility that the butterflies might also have originated from monarch populations established in the Canaries, Azores, or possibly Spain and Portugal. Unfortunately, little seems to be known about the distribution and abundance of monarchs and their host-plants in Southern Europe and the islands off the north west coast of Africa. ...

[ Read the full text of this article at http://www.MonarchWatch.org/update/2004/1022.html#8 ]

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9) Upcoming Monarch Events

For a complete up-to-date listing please visit the "Monarch Events" forum within our new online community forums:

http://www.MonarchWatch.org/forums/viewforum.php?f=20

If you know of other events that are not listed there, please let us know!

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10) New DVD on Butterflies and Skippers

Dick Walton, known to most of you who follow monarchs as one of the architects and coordinators of the Cape May Monarch Monitoring Project (http://www.concord.org/~dick/mmp02.html) recently sent us a copy of new DVD designed to introduce beginners to butterflies and skippers.

The DVD, produced by Dick Walton and Greg Dodge as "Brownbag Productions", is titled "Common Butterflies and Skippers of Eastern North America". The digital videography is excellent and each species is represented by clear images as it forages for nectar, water or liquids or just rests on the vegetation or the ground. Given that images are close-ups and you can see the specimens from a variety of angles it is probably easier to learn to recognize each species on sight through this medium than with a book. A companion book on the other hand will be of value since it can provide details on host-plants, distributions, habitats and seasonality knowledge of which makes the study of butterflies even more interesting. The DVD also includes a section on the monarch migration as viewed from Cape May. This section is brief and only tells part of the story but it does provide a sense of the Cape may habitat and the difficulty monarchs encounter when their course funnels them to the end of a peninsula.

For more information or to order a copy please visit

http://shop.monarchwatch.org/product.aspx?p=109053

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11) About Our Update List

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Monarch Watch (http://www.MonarchWatch.org) is a not-for-profit educational outreach program based at the University of Kansas. We run a Monarch tagging program and offer Monarch Rearing Kits, Monarch Tagging Kits, and other educational/promotional materials that allow you to actively experience the monarch life cycle and its spectacular fall migration.

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