> >Monarch Watch Update - December 2005 >http://www.MonarchWatch.org >[log in to unmask] > >========================================== > >Contents: > >1) Status of the Population > >2) Monarch Waystations3) About Our Update List > >========================================== > >Unless otherwise noted, all content was authored >by Chip Taylor, edited by Jim Lovett and Sarah >Schmidt, and published by Jim Lovett. > >========================================== > >1) Status of the Population > >Last year at this time, I predicted that the >total hectares for the monarch overwintering >population would be less that 4 hectares. My >prediction was based on the conditions in the >spring, those through the summer, and the >reports from taggers in the fall. The reports >from the taggers suggested that the migration >was the poorest in 16 years. This assessment was >subsequently supported by the count of the total >number of butterflies tagged. This total was a >bit less than 26,000 and was the lowest number >of monarchs tagged since the fall of 1996, the >fifth year of our program. The total >overwintering population was only 2.19 hectares, >the lowest population recorded to date. My >prediction of less than 4 hectares was borne >out, but I suspected that the final population >would prove to be much lower since the there >were many similarities to 2000, when the final >numbers were only 2.83 hectares. A partial >analysis of the reasons for the low numbers of >monarchs in 2004 can be found in the "Teaching >with Monarchs" section of the January 2005 Update: > >http://www.monarchwatch.org/update/2005/0114.html#5 > >The situation this year is quite different. I >have been predicting an overwintering population >of at least 7 hectares with a total of about 5 >hectares for the three major colonies, Sierra >Chincua, El Rosario, and Cerro Pelon. This >estimate, like the prediction for 2004, is also >deliberately conservative. The population could >certainly be higher. Indeed, all the reports we >have received from Mexico suggest that the >number of monarchs this year may be above the long-term average of 9 hectares. > >However, it is hard to assess these eyewitness >accounts. People remembering the low numbers of >last year are likely to be overly impressed with >any increase in the population. One reporter I >spoke with mentioned that one of the Mexican >authorities, I'm not sure whom, was predicting a >total population of 200-220 million monarchs. If >this prediction was based on the assumption that >there are an average of 10-12 million monarchs >per hectare, then they are predicting that the >total population could be 17 to 20 hectares. >Wow! If true, this would certainly blow away my >conservative prediction and the total number of >monarchs would rival the numbers reported in >1996 (20.97 hectares) - the largest population >reported since the monarch colonies became known >to science. Further, such numbers would signal a >truly remarkable comeback, since the spring >population that moved north in 2005 had to have >been one of the smallest, if not the smallest, >in the last 30 years. As it is, a comeback to a >population of 7-9 hectares from one that was only 2.19 last year is amazing. > >The answer to the size of the population this >winter will soon be known. Eduardo Rendon >Salinas and his crew (World Wildlife Fund >Mexico) are measuring the colonies now and will >continue to do so through January. These >measurements of the colonies are the only way to >assess the true size of the population and the >only way to get a perspective on the differences >from one year to the next. This is truly a >unique and valuable service provided by the >World Wildlife Fund Mexico (WWFMX). This is the >third year during which WWFMX has managed this >task. Previously, these measurements were >provided by Eligio Garcia Serrano, who worked >under the directive of the office of PROFEPA >(Procuraduría Federal de Protección al Ambiente >- The Federal Ministry for Environmental >Protection) and who worked frequently with >Eduardo from 1993-2002. In 2002, Marco Bernal, >Bill Calvert, Isabel Ramirez, Jose Maria Suarez, >and Lincoln Brower measured the colonies. Eligio >and Eduardo, with the support of their >organizations and the additional crew in 2002, >have provided us with a continuous record of the >monarch overwintering populations from 1993 to >the present. Would you believe that monarchs are >the only insect in the world for which there is >an estimate of a continentally distributed >population and is only one of a relatively small >number of animal species for which there is an >annual census of this type? Numerous evaluations >of insect populations have been undertaken in >the last 40 years, and some are quite long in >duration, but all deal with species confined to >special habitats, or, in many cases, endangered >species. The measurement of numbers of hectares >occupied by the monarchs each year in Mexico is >extraordinary and provides valuable insights as >to the factors that drive the population. > >========================================== > >2) Monarch Waystations > >Considering the late start for the Monarch >Waystation Program (21 April 2005) and the >limited publicity the program received, we are >off to a great start. We sold over 1100 Monarch >Waystation seed kits in 2005 and there are now >386 registered and certified Monarch >Waystations. We are hoping to do even better in >2006. The seeds have been ordered for new kits >(including one specifically designed for >California) and we are planning a publicity >campaign to encourage many others to create monarch habitats. > >We also need your help encouraging others to >create Monarch Waystations. One way to do this >is to create coverage of this unique >conservation effort in your local newspaper. >Jane Fousler of Elmhurst, IL did just that. Jane >is a good friend of Margarete Johnson who, as >you may recall, creates and maintains the nectar >and host plant resources in the Monarch Watch's >own Monarch Waystation. Margarete does an >outstanding job and she is extremely >enthusiastic. During a visit to Lawrence to see >Margarete, Jane was introduced to the Monarch >Waystation idea. Jane returned to Elmhurst and >set to work on her own garden, adding milkweeds, >nectar plants and host plants for other >butterflies. Soon after, she registered her >garden as a Monarch Waystation (#245). In >October, I was contacted by Kathleen Cantwell, a >Liberty Suburban Chicago Newspaper writer, who >wanted to write a story about Jane Fousler and >her Monarch Waystation. The result was a >detailed and nicely illustrated story that first >stared appearing in suburban Chicago-area >newspapers around the 10th of November. >Hopefully, this story and Jane's advocacy as >Co-Chair of the Elmhurst Garden Club's >conservation committee will encourage others in >the Chicago area to create Monarch Waystations. > >The Monarch Waystation Registry, an online >listing of current certified Monarch Waystations is available at > >http://www.monarchwatch.org/ws/registry.html > >We will soon be adding more information for each >site as we receive photos and text from the >applicants. For an interesting analysis of the >distribution of Monarch Waystations please see >the following GardenWeb forum thread: > >http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/butterfly/msg120350107663.html?3 > >Larry Gene posted the analysis and Mike Cronin >added commentary and alerted us to the original post. Thanks to both of you! > >========================================== > >3) About Our Update List > >You are receiving this email because you have >provided Monarch Watch with your email address >at some point and expressed interest in >receiving updates from us. If you do not wish to >receive these periodic (probably monthly) email >updates or feel that you were subscribed in >error, please see the unsubscribe information at the end of this message. > >Have you somehow missed (or misplaced ;-) an >update? 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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. > >If you would like to be removed from this >Monarch Watch Update mailing list, please send an email message to > >[log in to unmask] > >and include in the body of the message (no other text): > >UNSUBSCRIBE MONARCH-WATCH-UPDATE > >If you have any questions about this, please feel free to contact us anytime. > >Thanks! > >Monarch Watch >http://www.MonarchWatch.org >[log in to unmask] > >This e-mail may be reproduced, printed, or >otherwise redistributed as long as it is >provided in full and without any modification. >Requests to do otherwise must be approved in writing by Monarch Watch.