The monarch butterfly is one of the most widely recognized and admired creatures native to North America.
The iconic critter, identified by its vibrant, sunset orange color and speckles of white dotting its black borders, has suffered significant population loss in recent decades. Last year, the International Union for Conservation of Nature listed the monarch butterfly as endangered. But the U.S. has yet to do the same, and many states that harbor the migratory insect don’t list it as a species in need of conservation, according to new Northeastern research.
“What’s unique about the monarchs is their conservation needs are really about their migratory behavior, and because they are susceptible to a wide range of stressors that affect populations,” Damon Hall, an associate professor of marine and environmental sciences in the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs, who co-authored the study published in the Conservation Letters, says.
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Photo by Alyssa Stone/Northeastern University