Almanack Contributor Ernest Williams

Ernest Williams

Ernest Williams is an ecologist who taught at Hamilton College for 34 years. He has a summer camp on Twitchell Lake.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Monarch butterfly update

monarch butterflyHere in the northeast we saw a lot of monarch butterflies, both adults and caterpillars, in the summer and fall of 2019, more than have been seen for many years.

That produced surprise and enthusiasm among observers, and the many sightings raised hopes that the 20-year decline in monarch numbers had slowed or even reversed.

But World Wildlife Fund-Mexico recently released the official count for this winter, and it showed a significant decline, not an increase; less than half as many butterflies were seen in Mexico this winter compared to the previous winter.  What happened? Why didn’t the numerous monarchs we saw throughout our region increase the abundance of the overall population?

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