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Monarchs/Butterflies/Skippers as pollinators

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  • Droege, Sam
    All: [Disclaimer, of sorts: I like butterflies and have studied butterfly survey techniques in the past and own 2 pair of butterfly binoculars] The feds are
    Message 1 of 13 , May 14, 2014
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      All:

      [Disclaimer, of sorts:  I like butterflies and have studied butterfly survey techniques in the past and own 2 pair of butterfly binoculars]

      The feds are revving up to start a pollination campaign... the details of which are currently being worked out.   This is a good thing and almost any directive will be positive.  That said, I have seen some preliminary information from the Department of Interior with a lot of Monarch efforts being mentioned/highlighted.

      Monarchs definitely are in trouble and certainly a general pollinator effort should involve monarchs and other butterflies as the umbrella is large and butterflies are generally more charismatic than the rest. Additionally, both Monarchs and other pollinating groups would benefit from the long coat tails of each other's charms.

      However, in giving talks I have found myself generally poo-pooing (to use a technical term) butterfly and skipper pollination contributions to floral reproduction. 

      But, how true is that?

      So I ask 3 Questions from small to large: 

      1.  Are monarchs transferring pollinia effectively on Milkweeds?
      2.  Are monarchs significant pollinators in any situation?
      3.  Does the average skipper and average butterfly play much of roll in pollination?  Skippers are low slung enought that one would suspect they are better than butterflies...

      Thanks

      sam

      See....Internet quotes about Monarch pollination at the end of this email.

      Sam Droege  sdroege@...                      
      w 301-497-5840 h 301-390-7759 fax 301-497-5624
      USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
      BARC-EAST, BLDG 308, RM 124 10300 Balt. Ave., Beltsville, MD  20705
      Http://www.pwrc.usgs.gov

      The lepidopterist with happy cries
      Devotes his days to hunting butterflies.
      The leopard, through some feline mental twist, 
      Would rather hunt a lepidopterist.
      That's why I never adopted lepidoptery.
      I do not wish to live in jeopardoptery.
                -  Ogden Nash

      ------------------

      Interesting Quotes from the Internet

      Monarch butterflies help to pollinate our food, especially corn!

      monarch butterflys do NOT spread pollen, because they lay their eggs on milkweed which is a non pollinated plant. the actual butterfly itself only lives for a day and its only purpose is to lay eggs. butterflys (caterpillars) are born with the eggs, and there are no "male" butterflys.... hope this helps!

      . Like most butterflies, monarchs are pollinators that play an important ecological role in maintaining biological diversity.

      If the Monarchs become extinct, what happens to the other pollinators we depend on?

      Monarch butterflies pollinate many plants, 


      --
      Bees are Not Optional
      Apes sunt et non liberum
    • David Inouye
      I have 55 entries in my EndNote database with keywords butterfly and pollination , but only one with skipper and pollination : Doll, S., et al. (2007).
      Message 2 of 13 , May 14, 2014
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        I have 55 entries in my EndNote database with keywords "butterfly" and "pollination", but only one with "skipper" and "pollination":

        Doll, S., et al. (2007). "Pollination ecology of Justicia rusbyi (Acanthaceae), a common understory plant in a tropical mountain forest in eastern Bolivia." Plant Species Biology 22(3): 211-216.
                 The present study reports the species composition, behavior and ecology of floral visitors to a common understory herb, Justicia rusbyi (Acanthaceae), in a tropical mountain forest. Although the analyses were made during the peak flowering period, floral visitors were rare. In total, 22 species were observed visiting. The most frequent visitors were a small species of stingless bee (Meliponinae) and a skipper (Hesperiidae). Approximately three-quarters of all floral visitors visited only one flower during a stay. Most visitors were observed at noon and in direct sunlight, and there was a positive correlation between the number of J. rusbyi flowers displayed and the number of visitors. The nectar was found to be rich in hexose, which is unusual in bee-pollinated plants.



        At 03:52 PM 5/14/2014, you wrote:
         

        All:

        [Disclaimer, of sorts:  I like butterflies and have studied butterfly survey techniques in the past and own 2 pair of butterfly binoculars]

        The feds are revving up to start a pollination campaign... the details of which are currently being worked out.   This is a good thing and almost any directive will be positive.  That said, I have seen some preliminary information from the Department of Interior with a lot of Monarch efforts being mentioned/highlighted.

        Monarchs definitely are in trouble and certainly a general pollinator effort should involve monarchs and other butterflies as the umbrella is large and butterflies are generally more charismatic than the rest. Additionally, both Monarchs and other pollinating groups would benefit from the long coat tails of each other's charms.

        However, in giving talks I have found myself generally poo-pooing (to use a technical term) butterfly and skipper pollination contributions to floral reproduction.

        But, how true is that?

        So I ask 3 Questions from small to large:

        1.  Are monarchs transferring pollinia effectively on Milkweeds?
        2.  Are monarchs significant pollinators in any situation?
        3.  Does the average skipper and average butterfly play much of roll in pollination?  Skippers are low slung enought that one would suspect they are better than butterflies...

        Thanks

        sam

        See....Internet quotes about Monarch pollination at the end of this email.

        Sam Droege  sdroege@...                      
        w 301-497-5840 h 301-390-7759 fax 301-497-5624
        USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
        BARC-EAST, BLDG 308, RM 124 10300 Balt. Ave., Beltsville, MD  20705
        Http://www.pwrc.usgs.gov

        The lepidopterist with happy cries
        Devotes his days to hunting butterflies.
        The leopard, through some feline mental twist,
        Would rather hunt a lepidopterist.
        That's why I never adopted lepidoptery.
        I do not wish to live in jeopardoptery.
                  -  Ogden Nash

        ------------------

        Interesting Quotes from the Internet

        Monarch butterflies help to pollinate our food, especially corn!

        monarch butterflys do NOT spread pollen, because they lay their eggs on milkweed which is a non pollinated plant. the actual butterfly itself only lives for a day and its only purpose is to lay eggs. butterflys (caterpillars) are born with the eggs, and there are no "male" butterflys.... hope this helps!

        . Like most butterflies, monarchs are pollinators that play an important ecological role in maintaining biological diversity.

        If the Monarchs become extinct, what happens to the other pollinators we depend on?

        Monarch butterflies pollinate many plants,


        --
        Bees are Not Optional
        Apes sunt et non liberum
      • Doug Yanega
        ... I remembering helping someone who was reviewing the pollination of asclepiads, and IIRC the vast majority of pollination was achieved via large
        Message 3 of 13 , May 14, 2014
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          On 5/14/14 12:52 PM, 'Droege, Sam' sdroege@... [beemonitoring] wrote:
           


          1.  Are monarchs transferring pollinia effectively on Milkweeds?
          2.  Are monarchs significant pollinators in any situation?
          3.  Does the average skipper and average butterfly play much of roll in pollination?  Skippers are low slung enought that one would suspect they are better than butterflies...


          I remembering helping someone who was reviewing the pollination of asclepiads, and IIRC the vast majority of pollination was achieved via large hymenopterans such as Pepsis, sphecids, tiphiids, and Bombus, among others. Monarchs were among the butterfly visitors, but not the only ones, and even cumulatively I believe butterflies were a small minority component. Aside from a few highly specialized associations outside of the US (like Gurania and Heliconius), I can't recall ever hearing of a plant where under natural conditions the primary pollinators (in terms of seed set, etc., as opposed to simple visitation counts) were butterflies. Moths, sure, tons of those - but not butterflies.

          Peace,
          -- 
          Doug Yanega      Dept. of Entomology       Entomology Research Museum
          Univ. of California, Riverside, CA 92521-0314     skype: dyanega
          phone: (951) 827-4315 (disclaimer: opinions are mine, not UCR's)
                       http://cache.ucr.edu/~heraty/yanega.html
            "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
                  is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82
        • Jack Neff
          Two not particularly recent and not highly convincing papers claiming that leps tend to be lame pollinators are: Jennersten, O.  1984.  Flower visitation and
          Message 4 of 13 , May 14, 2014
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            Two not particularly recent and not highly convincing papers claiming that leps tend to be lame pollinators are: Jennersten, O.  1984.  Flower visitation and pollination efficiency of some North European butterflies.  Oecologia 63: 80-89. 1984.  and  B. A. B. Venables & E. M. Barrows.  1985.  Skippers: pollinators or nectar thieves.  Journal of the Lepidopterists' Society. 39: 299-312.  Obviously, in some plants like many Phlox or Lantana spp, butterflies are the whole show while in some others systems like Ipomoea cordatotriloba (as I. trichocarpa), butterflies contribute essentially nothing to the pollination system despite being the most abundant floral visitors (E. E. Spears, 1983. A direct measure of pollinator effectiveness.  Oecologia 57: 196-199). 
            Most of the vast Asclepias literature suggests larger hymenopterans (Bombus, Xylocopa, Pepsis and so forth) are the main pollinators in most cases.

            best

            Jack

            John L. Neff
            Central Texas Melittological Institute
            7307 Running Rope
            Austin,TX 78731 USA
            512-345-7219
            On Wednesday, May 14, 2014 3:53 PM, "Doug Yanega dyanega@... [beemonitoring]" <beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
             
            On 5/14/14 12:52 PM, 'Droege, Sam' sdroege@... [beemonitoring] wrote:
             


            1.  Are monarchs transferring pollinia effectively on Milkweeds?
            2.  Are monarchs significant pollinators in any situation?
            3.  Does the average skipper and average butterfly play much of roll in pollination?  Skippers are low slung enought that one would suspect they are better than butterflies...


            I remembering helping someone who was reviewing the pollination of asclepiads, and IIRC the vast majority of pollination was achieved via large hymenopterans such as Pepsis, sphecids, tiphiids, and Bombus, among others. Monarchs were among the butterfly visitors, but not the only ones, and even cumulatively I believe butterflies were a small minority component. Aside from a few highly specialized associations outside of the US (like Gurania and Heliconius), I can't recall ever hearing of a plant where under natural conditions the primary pollinators (in terms of seed set, etc., as opposed to simple visitation counts) were butterflies. Moths, sure, tons of those - but not butterflies.

            Peace,
            -- 
            Doug Yanega      Dept. of Entomology       Entomology Research Museum
            Univ. of California, Riverside, CA 92521-0314     skype: dyanega
            phone: (951) 827-4315 (disclaimer: opinions are mine, not UCR's)
                         http://cache.ucr.edu/~heraty/yanega.html
              "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
                    is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82


          • Peter Bernhardt
            Dear Sam: This is very delicate territory. In some parts of the world true butterflies are considered negligible as pollinators. Please see my chapter on
            Message 5 of 13 , May 15, 2014
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              Dear Sam:

              This is very delicate territory.  In some parts of the world true butterflies are considered negligible as pollinators.  Please see my chapter on this topic in "The Rose's Kiss."  In contrast, butterflies appear to be very important pollinators in other parts of the world and are associated with certain species in plant families like the Apocynaceae, Fabaceae (caesalpinoids only), Polemoniaceae (see Verne Grant's "Pollination in the Phlox Family"), Orchidaceae etc.  For example, the role of butterflies in the pollination of orchids in southern Africa will be explained by Dr Steve Johnson in his upcoming book chapter in "Darwin's Orchids; Then and Now " (University of Chicago Press, October 2014).  See the new orchid poster site for NAPPC's Pollinator Partnership site and check out the information on Platanthera and Battus.

              The sad fact remains that few people studying butterflies assess their ability to transfer pollen effectively.  It's the diurnal and nocturnal hawk moths that receive ALL the attention due, in part, to long-term studies on the evolution of hawk moths and members of the nightshades (Solanaceae) and evening primroses (Onagraceae).   Robert Raguso's work on hawkmoth pollination and flower scents is spectacular.  

              I think that part of the problem is that removing pollen from a butterfly's corpse rather spoils the insect as a voucher specimen.  The only other way is to remove parts of the insect that contact anthers and stigmas and examine them under the SEM (not everyone has access to one).  The earlier work of Donald Levin is an important exception to the rule that butterflies have not been assessed properly as to their ability to transfer pollen to stigmas.  Go to the following link...


              Please check your files for the report sent to Bee United by the Bernhardt/Meier lab about a year ago.  The monarch butterfly is definitely NOT the pollinator of the rare, Mead's milkweed (Asclepias meadii). They do lay eggs on its leaves.  Does that mean that monarchs do not pollinate ANY milkweeds?  I seriously doubt that but the literature must be combed and this should be easy as milkweeds leave whole pollinaria on an insects mouth parts, tarsi and leg segments that's easy to identify with only a little magnification.

              In fact, the Bernhardt/Meier lab is a bout to start the second year of its study on a local species of purple milkweed.  Based on last year's work it definitely is butterfly pollinated but the pollinators are not monarchs.  In fact, these big butterflies are far prettier than monarchs (if less iconic).  We even have SEMs of how the corpusculum becomes attached to their "toes."   Surely, the Feds would be interested in that.

              Peter


              On Wed, May 14, 2014 at 2:52 PM, 'Droege, Sam' sdroege@... [beemonitoring] <beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
               

              All:

              [Disclaimer, of sorts:  I like butterflies and have studied butterfly survey techniques in the past and own 2 pair of butterfly binoculars]

              The feds are revving up to start a pollination campaign... the details of which are currently being worked out.   This is a good thing and almost any directive will be positive.  That said, I have seen some preliminary information from the Department of Interior with a lot of Monarch efforts being mentioned/highlighted.

              Monarchs definitely are in trouble and certainly a general pollinator effort should involve monarchs and other butterflies as the umbrella is large and butterflies are generally more charismatic than the rest. Additionally, both Monarchs and other pollinating groups would benefit from the long coat tails of each other's charms.

              However, in giving talks I have found myself generally poo-pooing (to use a technical term) butterfly and skipper pollination contributions to floral reproduction. 

              But, how true is that?

              So I ask 3 Questions from small to large: 

              1.  Are monarchs transferring pollinia effectively on Milkweeds?
              2.  Are monarchs significant pollinators in any situation?
              3.  Does the average skipper and average butterfly play much of roll in pollination?  Skippers are low slung enought that one would suspect they are better than butterflies...

              Thanks

              sam

              See....Internet quotes about Monarch pollination at the end of this email.

              Sam Droege  sdroege@...                      
              w 301-497-5840 h 301-390-7759 fax 301-497-5624
              USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
              BARC-EAST, BLDG 308, RM 124 10300 Balt. Ave., Beltsville, MD  20705
              Http://www.pwrc.usgs.gov

              The lepidopterist with happy cries
              Devotes his days to hunting butterflies.
              The leopard, through some feline mental twist, 
              Would rather hunt a lepidopterist.
              That's why I never adopted lepidoptery.
              I do not wish to live in jeopardoptery.
                        -  Ogden Nash

              ------------------

              Interesting Quotes from the Internet

              Monarch butterflies help to pollinate our food, especially corn!

              monarch butterflys do NOT spread pollen, because they lay their eggs on milkweed which is a non pollinated plant. the actual butterfly itself only lives for a day and its only purpose is to lay eggs. butterflys (caterpillars) are born with the eggs, and there are no "male" butterflys.... hope this helps!

              . Like most butterflies, monarchs are pollinators that play an important ecological role in maintaining biological diversity.

              If the Monarchs become extinct, what happens to the other pollinators we depend on?

              Monarch butterflies pollinate many plants, 


              --
              Bees are Not Optional
              Apes sunt et non liberum


            • Sellers, Elizabeth
              Somebody else may have already shared this - so I apologize if I m duplicating someone s post. I sent this reference to Sam privately yesterday as I was
              Message 6 of 13 , May 15, 2014
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                Somebody else may have already shared this - so I apologize if I'm duplicating someone's post. I sent this reference to Sam privately yesterday as I was experiencing technical difficulties with posting to the Yahoo Group. I am currently in the middle of the 'monarchs an\s pollinators' furor and so had to do similar research myself. This is a rather useful publication that I found, and which answered my questions sufficiently concerning monarch contributions specifically to pollinating milkweeds (Asclepias)...

                From the abstract: "The most important pollinators, such as the exotic honey bee (Apis mellifera), bumblebees (Bombus), large wasps (Sphex, Tachytes, Myzinum, and Polistes), and large butterflies (Papilio), not only carried relatively large numbers of pollinial sacs extracted from donor flowers, but apparently inserted large numbers of pollinial sacs into the stigmatic chambers of recipient flowers."

                From Pg. 51: "Apidae, Sphecidae, and Papilionaceae were the only families pollinating A. exaltata (poke milkweed), A. hirtella (tall green milkweed), A. meadii (Mead's milkweed), A. purpurascens (purple milkweed), A. sullivantii (Sullivant's milkweed), and A. viridiflora (short green milkweed). For most of the other milkweeds this group of three families constituted at least 90% of the pollinators."

                REF: Betz, R. F., Struven, R. D., Wall, J. E., and F. B. Heitler. 1994. Insect Pollinators of 12 milkweed (Asclepias) Species. Proceedings of the Thirteenth North American Prairie Conference : spirit of the land, our prairie legacy : held 6-9 August 1992, Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Pp. 45-60.  http://images.library.wisc.edu/EcoNatRes/EFacs/NAPC/NAPC13/reference/econatres.napc13.rbetz.pdf

                Cheers, Liz

                Elizabeth Sellers

                Eco-Science Synthesis (ESS)
                Core Science Analytics and Synthesis (CSAS)
                BISON Data Team; USGS Liaison to the Plant Conservation Alliance
                United States Geological Survey (USGS)
                12201 Sunrise Valley Drive, Mail Stop 302
                Reston, VA 20192  USA
                Room 2A231C
                703.648.4385  esellers@...

                Looking for species occurrence data for the U.S.? Check out:
                Biodiversity Information Serving Our Nation (BISON) http://bison.usgs.ornl.gov/

              • Sellers, Elizabeth
                As a follow-up to my previous post... I should have mentioned that *Danaus plexippus* was specifically represented in the data for this study. (*REF: *Betz, R.
                Message 7 of 13 , May 15, 2014
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                  As a follow-up to my previous post... I should have mentioned that Danaus plexippus was specifically represented in the data for this study. (REF: Betz, R. F., Struven, R. D., Wall, J. E., and F. B. Heitler. 1994. Insect Pollinators of 12 milkweed (Asclepias) Species. Proceedings of the Thirteenth North American Prairie Conference : spirit of the land, our prairie legacy : held 6-9 August 1992, Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Pp. 45-60.  http://images.library.wisc.edu/EcoNatRes/EFacs/NAPC/NAPC13/reference/econatres.napc13.rbetz.pdf).

                  Cheers, Liz

                • Peter Bernhardt
                  Dear Elizabeth: Good, you found Betz et al (1994). Like it, or not, it remains the most important publication on which insects transport the pollinaria of
                  Message 8 of 13 , May 15, 2014
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                    Dear Elizabeth:

                    Good, you found Betz et al (1994).  Like it, or not, it remains the most important publication on which insects transport the pollinaria of specific milkweed species.
                    Here's the big problem.  We know which insects carry pollinaria of Asclepias species but we still can't predict which insects forage on the milkweed flowers in such a way that they transfer the pollinia to stigma slots in the flowers.  Unfortunately, some insects may be good removers of the pollinaria but bad inserters and this is critical to cross-pollination.

                    Peter


                    On Thu, May 15, 2014 at 9:30 AM, 'Sellers, Elizabeth' esellers@... [beemonitoring] <beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
                     

                    Somebody else may have already shared this - so I apologize if I'm duplicating someone's post. I sent this reference to Sam privately yesterday as I was experiencing technical difficulties with posting to the Yahoo Group. I am currently in the middle of the 'monarchs an\s pollinators' furor and so had to do similar research myself. This is a rather useful publication that I found, and which answered my questions sufficiently concerning monarch contributions specifically to pollinating milkweeds (Asclepias)...

                    From the abstract: "The most important pollinators, such as the exotic honey bee (Apis mellifera), bumblebees (Bombus), large wasps (Sphex, Tachytes, Myzinum, and Polistes), and large butterflies (Papilio), not only carried relatively large numbers of pollinial sacs extracted from donor flowers, but apparently inserted large numbers of pollinial sacs into the stigmatic chambers of recipient flowers."

                    From Pg. 51: "Apidae, Sphecidae, and Papilionaceae were the only families pollinating A. exaltata (poke milkweed), A. hirtella (tall green milkweed), A. meadii (Mead's milkweed), A. purpurascens (purple milkweed), A. sullivantii (Sullivant's milkweed), and A. viridiflora (short green milkweed). For most of the other milkweeds this group of three families constituted at least 90% of the pollinators."

                    REF: Betz, R. F., Struven, R. D., Wall, J. E., and F. B. Heitler. 1994. Insect Pollinators of 12 milkweed (Asclepias) Species. Proceedings of the Thirteenth North American Prairie Conference : spirit of the land, our prairie legacy : held 6-9 August 1992, Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Pp. 45-60.  http://images.library.wisc.edu/EcoNatRes/EFacs/NAPC/NAPC13/reference/econatres.napc13.rbetz.pdf

                    Cheers, Liz

                    Elizabeth Sellers

                    Eco-Science Synthesis (ESS)
                    Core Science Analytics and Synthesis (CSAS)
                    BISON Data Team; USGS Liaison to the Plant Conservation Alliance
                    United States Geological Survey (USGS)
                    12201 Sunrise Valley Drive, Mail Stop 302
                    Reston, VA 20192  USA
                    Room 2A231C

                    Looking for species occurrence data for the U.S.? Check out:
                    Biodiversity Information Serving Our Nation (BISON) http://bison.usgs.ornl.gov/


                  • Jack Neff
                    A little confusing since the paper apparently claims among leps, only Papilionidae (not Papilionaceae) pollinate milkweeds but the monarch is a nymphalid  
                    Message 9 of 13 , May 15, 2014
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                      A little confusing since the paper apparently claims among leps, only Papilionidae (not Papilionaceae) pollinate milkweeds but the monarch is a nymphalid

                       
                      John L. Neff
                      Central Texas Melittological Institute
                      7307 Running Rope) 
                      Austin,TX 78731 USA
                      512-345-7219
                      On Thursday, May 15, 2014 10:23 AM, "Peter Bernhardt bernhap2@... [beemonitoring]" <beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
                       
                      Dear Elizabeth:

                      Good, you found Betz et al (1994).  Like it, or not, it remains the most important publication on which insects transport the pollinaria of specific milkweed species.
                      Here's the big problem.  We know which insects carry pollinaria of Asclepias species but we still can't predict which insects forage on the milkweed flowers in such a way that they transfer the pollinia to stigma slots in the flowers.  Unfortunately, some insects may be good removers of the pollinaria but bad inserters and this is critical to cross-pollination.

                      Peter


                      On Thu, May 15, 2014 at 9:30 AM, 'Sellers, Elizabeth' esellers@... [beemonitoring] <beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
                       
                      Somebody else may have already shared this - so I apologize if I'm duplicating someone's post. I sent this reference to Sam privately yesterday as I was experiencing technical difficulties with posting to the Yahoo Group. I am currently in the middle of the 'monarchs an\s pollinators' furor and so had to do similar research myself. This is a rather useful publication that I found, and which answered my questions sufficiently concerning monarch contributions specifically to pollinating milkweeds (Asclepias)...

                      From the abstract: "The most important pollinators, such as the exotic honey bee (Apis mellifera), bumblebees (Bombus), large wasps (Sphex, Tachytes, Myzinum, and Polistes), and large butterflies (Papilio), not only carried relatively large numbers of pollinial sacs extracted from donor flowers, but apparently inserted large numbers of pollinial sacs into the stigmatic chambers of recipient flowers."

                      From Pg. 51: "Apidae, Sphecidae, and Papilionaceae were the only families pollinating A. exaltata (poke milkweed), A. hirtella (tall green milkweed), A. meadii (Mead's milkweed), A. purpurascens (purple milkweed), A. sullivantii (Sullivant's milkweed), and A. viridiflora (short green milkweed). For most of the other milkweeds this group of three families constituted at least 90% of the pollinators."

                      REF: Betz, R. F., Struven, R. D., Wall, J. E., and F. B. Heitler. 1994. Insect Pollinators of 12 milkweed (Asclepias) Species. Proceedings of the Thirteenth North American Prairie Conference : spirit of the land, our prairie legacy : held 6-9 August 1992, Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Pp. 45-60.  http://images.library.wisc.edu/EcoNatRes/EFacs/NAPC/NAPC13/reference/econatres.napc13.rbetz.pdf

                      Cheers, Liz

                      Elizabeth Sellers

                      Eco-Science Synthesis (ESS)
                      Core Science Analytics and Synthesis (CSAS)
                      BISON Data Team; USGS Liaison to the Plant Conservation Alliance
                      United States Geological Survey (USGS)
                      12201 Sunrise Valley Drive, Mail Stop 302
                      Reston, VA 20192  USA
                      Room 2A231C

                      Looking for species occurrence data for the U.S.? Check out:
                      Biodiversity Information Serving Our Nation (BISON) http://bison.usgs.ornl.gov/




                    • Sellers, Elizabeth
                      Yes - I also thought it was interesting that larger swallow-tail butterflies seemed to be more effective at transferring pollinia. Cheers, Liz
                      Message 10 of 13 , May 15, 2014
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                        Yes - I also thought it was interesting that 'larger' swallow-tail butterflies seemed to be more effective at transferring pollinia.

                        Cheers, Liz


                        On Thu, May 15, 2014 at 11:32 AM, Jack Neff <jlnatctmi@...> wrote:
                        A little confusing since the paper apparently claims among leps, only Papilionidae (not Papilionaceae) pollinate milkweeds but the monarch is a nymphalid

                         
                        John L. Neff
                        Central Texas Melittological Institute
                        7307 Running Rope) 
                        Austin,TX 78731 USA
                        512-345-7219
                        On Thursday, May 15, 2014 10:23 AM, "Peter Bernhardt bernhap2@... [beemonitoring]" <beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
                         
                        Dear Elizabeth:

                        Good, you found Betz et al (1994).  Like it, or not, it remains the most important publication on which insects transport the pollinaria of specific milkweed species.
                        Here's the big problem.  We know which insects carry pollinaria of Asclepias species but we still can't predict which insects forage on the milkweed flowers in such a way that they transfer the pollinia to stigma slots in the flowers.  Unfortunately, some insects may be good removers of the pollinaria but bad inserters and this is critical to cross-pollination.

                        Peter


                        On Thu, May 15, 2014 at 9:30 AM, 'Sellers, Elizabeth' esellers@... [beemonitoring] <beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
                         
                        Somebody else may have already shared this - so I apologize if I'm duplicating someone's post. I sent this reference to Sam privately yesterday as I was experiencing technical difficulties with posting to the Yahoo Group. I am currently in the middle of the 'monarchs an\s pollinators' furor and so had to do similar research myself. This is a rather useful publication that I found, and which answered my questions sufficiently concerning monarch contributions specifically to pollinating milkweeds (Asclepias)...

                        From the abstract: "The most important pollinators, such as the exotic honey bee (Apis mellifera), bumblebees (Bombus), large wasps (Sphex, Tachytes, Myzinum, and Polistes), and large butterflies (Papilio), not only carried relatively large numbers of pollinial sacs extracted from donor flowers, but apparently inserted large numbers of pollinial sacs into the stigmatic chambers of recipient flowers."

                        From Pg. 51: "Apidae, Sphecidae, and Papilionaceae were the only families pollinating A. exaltata (poke milkweed), A. hirtella (tall green milkweed), A. meadii (Mead's milkweed), A. purpurascens (purple milkweed), A. sullivantii (Sullivant's milkweed), and A. viridiflora (short green milkweed). For most of the other milkweeds this group of three families constituted at least 90% of the pollinators."

                        REF: Betz, R. F., Struven, R. D., Wall, J. E., and F. B. Heitler. 1994. Insect Pollinators of 12 milkweed (Asclepias) Species. Proceedings of the Thirteenth North American Prairie Conference : spirit of the land, our prairie legacy : held 6-9 August 1992, Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Pp. 45-60.  http://images.library.wisc.edu/EcoNatRes/EFacs/NAPC/NAPC13/reference/econatres.napc13.rbetz.pdf

                        Cheers, Liz

                        Elizabeth Sellers

                        Eco-Science Synthesis (ESS)
                        Core Science Analytics and Synthesis (CSAS)
                        BISON Data Team; USGS Liaison to the Plant Conservation Alliance
                        United States Geological Survey (USGS)
                        12201 Sunrise Valley Drive, Mail Stop 302
                        Reston, VA 20192  USA
                        Room 2A231C

                        Looking for species occurrence data for the U.S.? Check out:
                        Biodiversity Information Serving Our Nation (BISON) http://bison.usgs.ornl.gov/





                      • Rutkosky, Flavia
                        Sam (and everyone else) Almost a year ago (27june2013) I posed the question of monarchs as pollinators to Delores Savignano who then asked Donita Cotter what
                        Message 11 of 13 , May 15, 2014
                        • 0 Attachment
                          Sam (and everyone else)

                          Almost a year ago (27june2013) I posed the question of monarchs as pollinators to Delores Savignano  who then asked Donita Cotter what info she had re monarchs as pollinators.  Donita recalled asking the question around 2009 when FWS began work on the North American Conservation Plan and development of the Monarch Joint Venture.  The info she received was that monarchs are probably not, or not known to be important pollinators.

                          Donita referred me to several other folk - Chip Taylor (Monarch Watch), Mace Vaughan (Xerxes Society Pollinator Program Director) and Karen Oberhauser (Monarch Joint Venture) to find out if additional research had provided other information re monarchs and pollination.

                          I then contacted them and received the following replies. . .

                          Chip's response (28June2013):

                          I have seen monarchs covered with pollen on several occasions and pictures of same. I don't know the flowers they were visiting but would guess it was a lily in one case.

                          Generally, monarchs would be considered poor pollinators or, let's say, inefficient pollinators. They are not designed for pollination yet some pollination is surely achieved by their visits to flowers.

                          Because of their numbers, especially in some areas at certain times of the year where flower visitation is intense, it is likely that pollination is more than trivial.

                          Like most incidental pollination, the effectiveness of pollination is likely to be a function of floral structure and the intensity of foraging.

                          Chip


                          Mace's response(28June2013)

                          I asked around to my monarch team. Overall, we concur with Chip that monarchs visit a wide variety of plants for nectar and that there is little documentation of their importance as pollinators of any given plant species.

                           

                          The one group of plants for which we know there is some documentation of the monarch’s role as a pollinator are milkweeds!  Countless milkweed pollination studies have been done, due to their unique pollination mechanism, and we know that pollinia transfer by monarchs has been mentioned in a few of them.

                           

                          There are certain native plants that are considered to be very important for fueling the monarch’s fall migration, but we don’t think anyone has a clear picture of what their favored nectar sources are throughout the year and across the country, nor the role that the butterflies might be playing in pollination. In the south-central US, frostweed (Verbesina virginica) and blue mistflower (Conoclinium coelestinum) are considered to be important late summer/early fall nectar sources for monarchs. Other plants readily visited by monarchs include Liatris spp, goldenrods in the fall, but no evidence that monarchs are an important pollinator. They could be relatively valuable pollinators of Lobelia cardinalis (in addition to hummingbirds), and possibly Liatris ligulistylis. Without doing a lit search, we would be just guessing here. Even then, I doubt there has been much research to begin with.

                           

                          Best,

                          Mace



                          Karen's response(28June2013):

                          Another reason that monarchs are probably not important pollinators is that, like most butterflies, individuals are such generalists.  They go to many flower species, probably dropping pollen from one species onto another. However, as Chip says, they probably do transfer a non-trivial amount of pollen to the "right" species under some circumstances.  

                          Karen

                          . . .so that is what I know from my question re monarchs and pollination.

                          Flavia


                          On Wed, May 14, 2014 at 3:52 PM, 'Droege, Sam' sdroege@... [beemonitoring] <beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
                           

                          All:

                          [Disclaimer, of sorts:  I like butterflies and have studied butterfly survey techniques in the past and own 2 pair of butterfly binoculars]

                          The feds are revving up to start a pollination campaign... the details of which are currently being worked out.   This is a good thing and almost any directive will be positive.  That said, I have seen some preliminary information from the Department of Interior with a lot of Monarch efforts being mentioned/highlighted.

                          Monarchs definitely are in trouble and certainly a general pollinator effort should involve monarchs and other butterflies as the umbrella is large and butterflies are generally more charismatic than the rest. Additionally, both Monarchs and other pollinating groups would benefit from the long coat tails of each other's charms.

                          However, in giving talks I have found myself generally poo-pooing (to use a technical term) butterfly and skipper pollination contributions to floral reproduction. 

                          But, how true is that?

                          So I ask 3 Questions from small to large: 

                          1.  Are monarchs transferring pollinia effectively on Milkweeds?
                          2.  Are monarchs significant pollinators in any situation?
                          3.  Does the average skipper and average butterfly play much of roll in pollination?  Skippers are low slung enought that one would suspect they are better than butterflies...

                          Thanks

                          sam

                          See....Internet quotes about Monarch pollination at the end of this email.

                          Sam Droege  sdroege@...                      
                          w 301-497-5840 h 301-390-7759 fax 301-497-5624
                          USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
                          BARC-EAST, BLDG 308, RM 124 10300 Balt. Ave., Beltsville, MD  20705
                          Http://www.pwrc.usgs.gov

                          The lepidopterist with happy cries
                          Devotes his days to hunting butterflies.
                          The leopard, through some feline mental twist, 
                          Would rather hunt a lepidopterist.
                          That's why I never adopted lepidoptery.
                          I do not wish to live in jeopardoptery.
                                    -  Ogden Nash

                          ------------------

                          Interesting Quotes from the Internet

                          Monarch butterflies help to pollinate our food, especially corn!

                          monarch butterflys do NOT spread pollen, because they lay their eggs on milkweed which is a non pollinated plant. the actual butterfly itself only lives for a day and its only purpose is to lay eggs. butterflys (caterpillars) are born with the eggs, and there are no "male" butterflys.... hope this helps!

                          . Like most butterflies, monarchs are pollinators that play an important ecological role in maintaining biological diversity.

                          If the Monarchs become extinct, what happens to the other pollinators we depend on?

                          Monarch butterflies pollinate many plants, 


                          --
                          Bees are Not Optional
                          Apes sunt et non liberum


                        • Stillwaugh, Donald M
                          Liz, Peter and all, I was a student of the late Dr. Betz at NEIU and spent some time in his lab helping to count pollinia on bee specimens….fond memories.
                          Message 12 of 13 , May 15, 2014
                          • 0 Attachment

                            Liz, Peter and all,

                             

                            I was a student of the late Dr. Betz at NEIU and spent some time in his lab helping to count pollinia on bee specimens….fond memories.

                             

                            Keeping to the broader subject, swallowtails do some significant pollination of Lilium spp. Mark Skinner wrote a seminal work - Skinner, M. W. 1988. Comparative Pollination Ecology and Floral Evolution in Pacific Coast Lilium. Ph.D. dissertation. Harvard University.

                             

                            I spent many seasons monitoring Catesby’s lilies here in Florida and made hundreds of incidental visitation observations with Papilio palamedes doing the lion’s share followed by P. troilus. Having come across Mark’s wonderful work, our Environmental Lands research group was in the process of working out methodologies for some pollination studies when the economy tanked. Sadly, most of our positions were eliminated and no study ever materialized. I do still have some nice images clearly showing yellow pollen on the butterfly’s wing tips (nectar at base of sepals is some 3 – 4 inches removed from tips of anthers, thus a large vector is needed for pollination).

                             

                            Best Regards,

                             

                            Don

                             

                            Donald Stillwaugh
                            Pinellas County Utilities Solid Waste
                            464-7570
                            dstillwa@...
                            All government correspondence is subject to the public records law.

                             

                            From: beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com [mailto:beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com]
                            Sent: Thursday, May 15, 2014 11:36 AM
                            To: Jack Neff
                            Cc: Peter Bernhardt; Bee United
                            Subject: Re: [beemonitoring] Monarchs/Butterflies/Skippers as pollinators

                             

                             

                            Yes - I also thought it was interesting that 'larger' swallow-tail butterflies seemed to be more effective at transferring pollinia.

                             

                            Cheers, Liz

                             

                            On Thu, May 15, 2014 at 11:32 AM, Jack Neff <jlnatctmi@...> wrote:

                            A little confusing since the paper apparently claims among leps, only Papilionidae (not Papilionaceae) pollinate milkweeds but the monarch is a nymphalid

                             

                            John L. Neff
                            Central Texas Melittological Institute
                            7307 Running Rope) 
                            Austin,TX 78731 USA
                            512-345-7219

                            On Thursday, May 15, 2014 10:23 AM, "Peter Bernhardt bernhap2@... [beemonitoring]" <beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com> wrote:

                             

                            Dear Elizabeth:

                             

                            Good, you found Betz et al (1994).  Like it, or not, it remains the most important publication on which insects transport the pollinaria of specific milkweed species.

                            Here's the big problem.  We know which insects carry pollinaria of Asclepias species but we still can't predict which insects forage on the milkweed flowers in such a way that they transfer the pollinia to stigma slots in the flowers.  Unfortunately, some insects may be good removers of the pollinaria but bad inserters and this is critical to cross-pollination.

                             

                            Peter

                             

                            On Thu, May 15, 2014 at 9:30 AM, 'Sellers, Elizabeth' esellers@... [beemonitoring] <beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com> wrote:

                             

                            Somebody else may have already shared this - so I apologize if I'm duplicating someone's post. I sent this reference to Sam privately yesterday as I was experiencing technical difficulties with posting to the Yahoo Group. I am currently in the middle of the 'monarchs an\s pollinators' furor and so had to do similar research myself. This is a rather useful publication that I found, and which answered my questions sufficiently concerning monarch contributions specifically to pollinating milkweeds (Asclepias)...

                             

                            From the abstract: "The most important pollinators, such as the exotic honey bee (Apis mellifera), bumblebees (Bombus), large wasps (Sphex, Tachytes, Myzinum, and Polistes), and large butterflies (Papilio), not only carried relatively large numbers of pollinial sacs extracted from donor flowers, but apparently inserted large numbers of pollinial sacs into the stigmatic chambers of recipient flowers."

                             

                            From Pg. 51: "Apidae, Sphecidae, and Papilionaceae were the only families pollinating A. exaltata (poke milkweed), A. hirtella (tall green milkweed), A. meadii (Mead's milkweed), A. purpurascens (purple milkweed), A. sullivantii (Sullivant's milkweed), and A. viridiflora (short green milkweed). For most of the other milkweeds this group of three families constituted at least 90% of the pollinators."

                             

                            REF: Betz, R. F., Struven, R. D., Wall, J. E., and F. B. Heitler. 1994. Insect Pollinators of 12 milkweed (Asclepias) Species. Proceedings of the Thirteenth North American Prairie Conference : spirit of the land, our prairie legacy : held 6-9 August 1992, Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Pp. 45-60.  http://images.library.wisc.edu/EcoNatRes/EFacs/NAPC/NAPC13/reference/econatres.napc13.rbetz.pdf


                            Cheers, Liz

                             

                            Elizabeth Sellers

                             

                            Eco-Science Synthesis (ESS)

                            Core Science Analytics and Synthesis (CSAS)

                            BISON Data Team; USGS Liaison to the Plant Conservation Alliance

                            United States Geological Survey (USGS)

                            12201 Sunrise Valley Drive, Mail Stop 302

                            Reston, VA 20192  USA

                            Room 2A231C

                            703.648.4385  esellers@...

                             

                            Looking for species occurrence data for the U.S.? Check out:

                            Biodiversity Information Serving Our Nation (BISON) http://bison.usgs.ornl.gov/

                             

                             

                             

                             

                          • Peter Bernhardt
                            What we have here, unfortunately, is a lot of opinions based on little research and some general observations. We DON T have lots of papers that show that
                            Message 13 of 13 , May 15, 2014
                            • 0 Attachment
                              What we have here, unfortunately, is a lot of opinions based on little research and some general observations.  We DON"T have lots of papers that show that monarchs pollinate Asclepias species.  We do have papers and observations showing that the adults take nectar of milkweeds. Unless you record the removal of pollinaria by these butterflies (and how they carry it on their bodies) you can not discriminate a floral forager or nectar thief from a true dispersal agent of Asclepias pollen.  To date, the single publication by Betz and associates provides the best of a rather meager story.  Furthermore, the literature on pollination of Asclepias, in general, is also very poor because we still don't know which pollinators are most like to forage, in such a manner, that the pollinaria they carry will be inserted into a stigmatic slot.  This same problem concerned the great botanist, Robert Brown, in the 19th century.  He described the biomechanics of pollinarium removal, anatomy and successful pollination but didn't consider who did the best job as pollinator either.  Perhaps this era of videos will solve it eventually.

                              Meanwhile, it's nonsense to dismiss monarchs as significant pollinators of non-milkweed species until we start catching them and analyzing them for pollen on the mouth parts, legs and - in some case - their wings.  Yes, they are generalized foragers but... so what? So are most North American bumblebees as queens and workers and the literature shows they are the primary pollinators of many native plant species.  Yes, monarchs only feed on nectar but... so what?  Hummingbirds consume floral nectar (they don't actively collect and swallow pollen) yet 50 years of field and lab studies show they pollinate many native species.  Yes, monarchs visit a lot of flowers with small, generalized, short tubes (Asrteraceae) but... so what?  We still don't have studies that show that a tiny, halictid bee (5-7 mm) in length is automatically a better pollinator of autumn Solidago and Aster compared to a big, galumphing monarch with those big fuzzy feet.  It doesn't matter which insect takes most of the the pollen.  It does matter which insect takes significant grain loads AND consistently dumps viable grains on receptive and compatible stigmas.  

                              Let's look at the hard facts for now.  Those monarchs have two migratory periods and those migrations cover different parts of North America at different times of the year.  It doesn't matter which way the monarchs travel because, with each migration, different plant species are in bloom.  I can live with the idea that, in both cases, monarchs are always parasites of vernal and autumnal systems based on interactions between wildflowers and their TRUE pollinators but... where's the proof? 

                              Please check your files and old emails for the report I sent to all of you about a year ago.  Monarchs don't pollinate the rare, Asclepias meadii in Kansas or Missouri but we weren't paying any attention to that butterfly as it foraged on other spring prairie plants.  Note, within that same report, all the species in flower while A. meadii bloomed and monarchs foraged and laid eggs.  

                              Peter


                              On Thu, May 15, 2014 at 11:44 AM, 'Rutkosky, Flavia' Flavia_Rutkosky@... [beemonitoring] <beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
                               

                              Sam (and everyone else)

                              Almost a year ago (27june2013) I posed the question of monarchs as pollinators to Delores Savignano  who then asked Donita Cotter what info she had re monarchs as pollinators.  Donita recalled asking the question around 2009 when FWS began work on the North American Conservation Plan and development of the Monarch Joint Venture.  The info she received was that monarchs are probably not, or not known to be important pollinators.

                              Donita referred me to several other folk - Chip Taylor (Monarch Watch), Mace Vaughan (Xerxes Society Pollinator Program Director) and Karen Oberhauser (Monarch Joint Venture) to find out if additional research had provided other information re monarchs and pollination.

                              I then contacted them and received the following replies. . .

                              Chip's response (28June2013):

                              I have seen monarchs covered with pollen on several occasions and pictures of same. I don't know the flowers they were visiting but would guess it was a lily in one case.

                              Generally, monarchs would be considered poor pollinators or, let's say, inefficient pollinators. They are not designed for pollination yet some pollination is surely achieved by their visits to flowers.

                              Because of their numbers, especially in some areas at certain times of the year where flower visitation is intense, it is likely that pollination is more than trivial.

                              Like most incidental pollination, the effectiveness of pollination is likely to be a function of floral structure and the intensity of foraging.

                              Chip


                              Mace's response(28June2013)

                              I asked around to my monarch team. Overall, we concur with Chip that monarchs visit a wide variety of plants for nectar and that there is little documentation of their importance as pollinators of any given plant species.

                               

                              The one group of plants for which we know there is some documentation of the monarch’s role as a pollinator are milkweeds!  Countless milkweed pollination studies have been done, due to their unique pollination mechanism, and we know that pollinia transfer by monarchs has been mentioned in a few of them.

                               

                              There are certain native plants that are considered to be very important for fueling the monarch’s fall migration, but we don’t think anyone has a clear picture of what their favored nectar sources are throughout the year and across the country, nor the role that the butterflies might be playing in pollination. In the south-central US, frostweed (Verbesina virginica) and blue mistflower (Conoclinium coelestinum) are considered to be important late summer/early fall nectar sources for monarchs. Other plants readily visited by monarchs include Liatris spp, goldenrods in the fall, but no evidence that monarchs are an important pollinator. They could be relatively valuable pollinators of Lobelia cardinalis (in addition to hummingbirds), and possibly Liatris ligulistylis. Without doing a lit search, we would be just guessing here. Even then, I doubt there has been much research to begin with.

                               

                              Best,

                              Mace



                              Karen's response(28June2013):

                              Another reason that monarchs are probably not important pollinators is that, like most butterflies, individuals are such generalists.  They go to many flower species, probably dropping pollen from one species onto another. However, as Chip says, they probably do transfer a non-trivial amount of pollen to the "right" species under some circumstances.  

                              Karen

                              . . .so that is what I know from my question re monarchs and pollination.

                              Flavia


                              On Wed, May 14, 2014 at 3:52 PM, 'Droege, Sam' sdroege@... [beemonitoring] <beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
                               

                              All:

                              [Disclaimer, of sorts:  I like butterflies and have studied butterfly survey techniques in the past and own 2 pair of butterfly binoculars]

                              The feds are revving up to start a pollination campaign... the details of which are currently being worked out.   This is a good thing and almost any directive will be positive.  That said, I have seen some preliminary information from the Department of Interior with a lot of Monarch efforts being mentioned/highlighted.

                              Monarchs definitely are in trouble and certainly a general pollinator effort should involve monarchs and other butterflies as the umbrella is large and butterflies are generally more charismatic than the rest. Additionally, both Monarchs and other pollinating groups would benefit from the long coat tails of each other's charms.

                              However, in giving talks I have found myself generally poo-pooing (to use a technical term) butterfly and skipper pollination contributions to floral reproduction. 

                              But, how true is that?

                              So I ask 3 Questions from small to large: 

                              1.  Are monarchs transferring pollinia effectively on Milkweeds?
                              2.  Are monarchs significant pollinators in any situation?
                              3.  Does the average skipper and average butterfly play much of roll in pollination?  Skippers are low slung enought that one would suspect they are better than butterflies...

                              Thanks

                              sam

                              See....Internet quotes about Monarch pollination at the end of this email.

                              Sam Droege  sdroege@...                      
                              w 301-497-5840 h 301-390-7759 fax 301-497-5624
                              USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
                              BARC-EAST, BLDG 308, RM 124 10300 Balt. Ave., Beltsville, MD  20705
                              Http://www.pwrc.usgs.gov

                              The lepidopterist with happy cries
                              Devotes his days to hunting butterflies.
                              The leopard, through some feline mental twist, 
                              Would rather hunt a lepidopterist.
                              That's why I never adopted lepidoptery.
                              I do not wish to live in jeopardoptery.
                                        -  Ogden Nash

                              ------------------

                              Interesting Quotes from the Internet

                              Monarch butterflies help to pollinate our food, especially corn!

                              monarch butterflys do NOT spread pollen, because they lay their eggs on milkweed which is a non pollinated plant. the actual butterfly itself only lives for a day and its only purpose is to lay eggs. butterflys (caterpillars) are born with the eggs, and there are no "male" butterflys.... hope this helps!

                              . Like most butterflies, monarchs are pollinators that play an important ecological role in maintaining biological diversity.

                              If the Monarchs become extinct, what happens to the other pollinators we depend on?

                              Monarch butterflies pollinate many plants, 


                              --
                              Bees are Not Optional
                              Apes sunt et non liberum



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