[Leps-l] New report about status of monarch butterflies in North America

Matthew Shepherd mdshepherd at xerces.org
Tue Mar 10 17:00:44 EDT 2015

We just wanted to let you all know that a new report about the monarch
butterfly is now available. The report was prepared for the U.S. Forest
Service by NatureServe and the Xerces Society.

The thing that marks this report from others is that it includes a newly
completed assessment that found that monarch butterflies in North America
are vulnerable to extinction. The assessment was done using NatureServe’s
conservation sta­tus assessment methodology, which has been successfully
applied to hundreds of species of animals.

Using data on population abundance, trends, and threats, it was determined
that while the monarch butterfly species as a whole, *Danaus plexippus*, is
apparently secure, the subspecies occurring in North America, *Danaus
plexippus plexippus*, is vulnerable to extinction. Under the assessment,
the North American monarchs were split into an eastern population that
migrates from as far north as southern Canada to central Mexico each fall,
and a smaller western population, that largely migrates to coastal
California to spend the winter. The eastern monarch population was assessed
as “critically imperiled” due to recent rapid decline and widespread
threats. The western population, with a slightly slower rate of decline and
less widespread threats, was categorized as “vulnerable to imperiled.”

The report, *Conservation Status and Ecology of the Monarch Butterfly in
the United States*, summarizes the monarch’s North American distribution,
life history, pop­ulation, current conservation status, and potential
causes of decline. In addition, it includes a set of breeding and
overwintering habitat management recommendations. This report aims to
inform gov­ernment agencies charged with biodiversity protection, as well
as conservation organizations and the public in general, about the threats
to and current conservation status of this much-loved, iconic insect.

Download *Conservation Status and Ecology of the Monarch Butterfly in the
United States* at



*Matthew Shepherd*, Communications Director

*The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation     *Protecting the Life
that Sustains Us

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