Need an expert? Migratory monarch butterfly on endangered species list

Need an expert
Monarch butterfly
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has added the migratory monarch butterfly to its “red list” of threatened species and categorized it as “endangered” - two steps from extinct.

Heather Kharouba (English only)

Associate Professor, Department of Biology, Faculty of Sciences

[email protected]

Professor Kharouba leads the Kharouba Lab, which studies how and why species are responding to global change, including climate change, and what those responses mean for ecological communities. Her research on monarch butterflies has focused on the interaction between the monarch and milkweed.

"This is an important designation from the IUCN. The population dynamics, life cycle and threats facing the monarch are complex, so an increased threat status will hopefully lead to more protection of this species."   

Megan Reich (English only)

PhD student, Faculty of Sciences

[email protected]

Megan, a biology student, travelled 20,000 kilometres collecting milkweed, creating isotope analysis of monarch butterflies’ annual migration journey, hoping to identify factors behind this threatened insect’s decline.

“In the case of monarchs, multiple reasons for the population decline have been suggested, including deforestation and extreme weather events at the overwintering sites, loss of habitat on the summer breeding grounds, mortality during the southward migration, increased parasitism, and the effects of climate change.”