Survey finds monarch butterflies more prevalent in Oregon
BEND — As Oregon conservationists turn their attention to the monarch butterfly, field research has found that there are more of the colorful insects in the state than once thought.
The field research last summer by the U.S. Forest Service and volunteers found that Central Oregon is dotted with butterflies, The Bulletin reports. Researchers found 125 adult monarchs and more than 300 caterpillars. Before the data was collected, there were only four or five known spots for monarchs. The survey found about 30 sites.
"We basically put Central Oregon on the map for monarch butterfly conservation," said Matt Horning, a geneticist with the U.S. Forest Service in Bend.
The new findings could help efforts to revive the species, which is being considered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for protection under the Endangered Species Act.
Monarchs are known for their massive migrations, with the trip south for winter taking multiple generations. Some butterflies have been known to fly as far as frim Mexico to the Midwest. The butterflies eventually make their way to coastal California before a new generation returns north.
Monarchs are found in Oregon from May to October.
Horning said he plans to further study monarchs in Central Oregon, potentially marking some to learn more about where they migrate.
Katya Spiecker, founder of the Monarch Advocates of Central Oregon, said monarchs are important because they are a good poster child for pollinators, such as bumblebees and wasps, and the problems they face.
"A lot of pollinators, their populations are dropping," Spiecker said.