A new Western Monarch butterfly breeding pattern is spurring hope that the butterfly is adapting to climate and ecology change. Washington State University Associate Professor, Dr. David James, said the studies done indicate the strategy for overwintering has changed and the Monarchs were breeding in the San Francisco, Bay area and Los Angeles this winter.


"This seems to be a consequence of our gradually warming climate. The butterflies have decided that they can continue reproduction instead of overwintering in the non-reproductive ways of the past.”

The Monarch usually overwinter in California coast, like Santa Cruz. The winter count of the Western Monarch butterfly population revealed a drop in numbers, however the butterfly's breeding pattern provides an optimistic outlook. 

Dr. James added the Monarch, along with other butterflies, are important pollinators. But unfortunately, the declining butterfly population is not limited to the Monarch.

"Maybe not as important as the bees, but were doing more research, were finding some butterflies are indeed quite important as pollinators.”

Dr. James said the Monarch butterfly population dropped from around 300,000 three years ago to just 1,914 last year.

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