Monarchs in Europe

Eduardo edu_marabuto at
Sat Dec 15 21:49:53 EST 2001

> On the Canary Islands, without any doubt, I say yes. Half of the 
> butterflies occurring there are endemics, I think the same goes for the 
> rest of nature there. The Monarch is a 'lesser evil' as it is not a 
> direct competitor for any of the native species, not like Vanessa 
> atalanta, living in the same habitat as Vanessa vulcania. I don't know 
> for Asclepias curassavica, but especially if it were to occur in the 
> protected areas - state parks - it should be weeded out. The species 
> there have no niche to retreat to, they're already living in one. 
> Tourism and other human activities have already damaged the forests to 
> an extent that some species are already missing on some of the islands. 
> E.g. Pieris cheiranthi, a nephew of P. brassicae, has not been seen for 
> many years on La Gomera. It is probably extinct there, the only places 
> in the world it still occurs being the islands of Teneriffa and La 
> Palma. 
> So, if it were possible, I would support the eradication of V. atalanta 
> on these islands. To eradicate the monarch, the profits are not high 
> enough. 
> But maybe Asclepias curassavica needs to be weeded out, and that would 
> take care of the monarch as well. 
> For what concerns the rest of Europe, the best way not to get into 
> trouble, is not to go looking for it. So keep the monarchs where they 
> are. We already have a king in Belgium ;-). 
> Guy.
I think I disagree with some points. Let´s see...
Monarchs are considered as "lesser evils" because they don´t interfere with
 others life cycle? What about Danaus chrissipus (african monarch)? It feeds
 on the same plants (Asclepias sp.) on the Canary Islands and Iberian Peninsula
 and it´s well known arround here they´re direct competitors...
Which species is the more probable to belong to the original fauna of the 
Canary Islands? The answer is Danaus chrysippus and that makes american 
monarches "real evils". These two species do try to avoid each other 
geographically and temporaly in most places but in those with plenty of food 
they can do a sustained cohabitation being generally Danaus chryssipus a bit 
more common.
There´s also the fact, documentated, that these two species, particullarly the
american one, feed on other plants than Asclepias curassavica or even Asclepias
I´ve found both of them on Euphorbia sp. (does this makes them competitors with
 Hyles euphorbiae or the similar species in the Canary
 in Spain and Portugal and it´s also said that they feed on Gossypium (cotton)
 and Vicetoxicum hirundinaria.
Is this species also found more to the north like Britain? This could explain 
the american arrival vs the Iberian origins of british sightings because the
 two species are very similar during all their life cycle.
There´s also the case of Vanessa virginensis, the American lady. It´s an 
estabilished species on the Canary Islands, Madeira and southwestern Iberian 
Peninsula (south Portugal) beint the latter very small dispersed collonies. 
This species must have come directly from America to the Canary Islands and 
then collonized the Iberian Peninsula... Because if it´s less migrant instincts
 it couldn´t reach Europe from America (I think) and the only possible way is
 from the Canary Islands moving northly. Well, this only made them to collonize
 small parts of the southern Iberian Peninsula and they don´t seem able to go 
further north.
About Vanessa vulcania (or V. indica vulcania, whatever)... Is it an endemic
 species of the Canary Islands? I don´t think so, i mean, it´s rather strange
 as other populations of this species only occur in eastern and southern Asia.
 It must have come in boats, etc. To try to erradicate Red admirals from there
isn´t a bit extreme? Vanessa atalanta is a Hoartic species, distrubuted over 
Europe, Asia, North Africa and North America being one part of it´s range those
 islands, now also occupied by V. vulcania. Do we have legitimacy to erradicate
 a species from part of it´s natural range?
All the best
Eduardo Marabuto

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