Tree-eating bugs threaten Monarch butterfly in Mexico
Sunday 22 November 2009
The mysterious Monarch butterfly, which migrates en masse annually between Canada and Mexico, is now facing a new peril: another insect thriving in Western Mexican forests.
Some 8,000 oyamel fir trees - the butterlies' unique mountain habitat each winter - were cut down in July in a bid to remove beetles that threaten the Monarch's ages-old migration.
But now another small beetle has since taken to devouring the savory tree trunks, further endangering the butterflies' winter colonies.
"We are working to determine how many trees have been affected," said Homero Gomez, president of El Rosario Sanctuary, a premier migrating spot for the Monarch in the western Mexican state of Michoacan.
Local residents, who help manage and maintain the sanctuary, have asked the authorities to fight the new intruder by using natural substances and without felling trees.
Millions of the orange and black butterflies migrate each year when the weather grows cold in Canada to make habitat in Michoacan's oyamel firs, in an annual ritual that has yet to be scientifically explained.
The Monarchs blaze a trail of some 4,500 kilometers (2,800 miles) - to the tune of 80 kilometers (50 miles) per day - arriving in early November in the high mountain massifs of Mexico's transvolcanic belt, where they hibernate until February in huge colonies, completely masking tree trunks.
Thousands of tourists come to observe their majestic aerial dances in the El Rosario Sanctuary, home to five million trees of various species.
Dolphins ‘deliberately get high’ on puffer fish nerve toxins by carefully chewing and passing them around
Cow 'emissions' more damaging to planet than CO2 from cars
Greenham Reach: The families trying to prove that compact, ecological farms can make a living
Boiling ourselves to death: Temperatures on Earth hit another record high, here’s the projected effect on humans
Have you heard 'the hum'? Mystery of Earth's low droning noise could now be solved
- 1 Isis 'jihadi bride' claims forced sex with Yazidi girls is never rape because Koran condones it
- 2 Art Garfunkel calls Paul Simon a 'monster' with a Napoleon complex
- 3 Woman accidentally shoots herself in the head while posing for a selfie
- 4 Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
- 5 Puerto Rico, island of lost dreams: People are leaving the debt-hit territory in droves as near neighbour Cuba's star rises
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
Gay marriage 'Bert and Ernie' cake bakery found guilty of discrimination in Northern Ireland
£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...
£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...