Glenda Denniston reported the first sighting this season of a Monarch butterfly in the Preserve. The Monarch was busy laying eggs on one of the emerging milkweed leaves along the Biocore Prairie edge. Apparently, the first Monarch seen in Wisconsin this season was reported only 3 days earlier, in Walworth County.
Click Glenda's photos and the slideshow arrow.
Cold and wet weather, of course, diminish reproductive success of the Monarch.The early three generations of Monarchs live only six weeks after they emerge from the cocoon. Later generations live up to eight months and can make the trek back the Monarch's hibernation place in Mexico – if they find enough milkweed to feed on the way.
Unfortunately, as we all know, in the monarch migration corridor to the south a large portion of the milkweed habitat has been eliminated – lost to the expanding corn belt and use of agricultural herbicide, as well as development. According to an estimate by the Director of the Monarch Watch at the University of Kansas, 5-15 million milkweed, via planting of seeds and plugs, will be required to offset the habitat losses for milkweed in the monarch migration corridor. Don't forget to pack milkweed seeds when you travel south. Gisela