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3462Roadside Salt Affects Neural & Muscle Development in Monarchs

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  • lkuder@rocketmail.com
    Jul 16, 2014
    This is an interesting topic that came up in a local naturalist blog. It seems applicable to bees, too, so thought it worth sharing here.

    The attached study focused on sodium uptake of milkweed and oaks near roadsides and any potential affects on butterflies. Interestingly males and females responded differently to increases of this historically limited micronutrient. Males developed stronger flight muscles, whereas females had increased brain volume (larger eyes). Both monarchs and cabbage whites had higher mortality rates though, but as the authors point out this could be due to factors other than salt overdose. Many good questions were raised, such as, does this affect foraging behaviour? morphology? etc.

    With roadsides being prime foraging sites for many bees, might it affect them as well? I've not seen much on the nutritional needs of native bees. Do they seek out sodium like butterflies? Even if they don't, how does it effect their muscular and neural development? Will we end up with males that have super flight abilities and brilliant females with extraordinary sight?

    Lisa Kuder
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