Most people know already about the monarchs and their beauty. However, the real situation is that this species of butterfly is on the verge of extinction.
Fortunately, there are still people like Kevin Luby, who took the initiative and decided to do something to preserve these beautiful insects. Luby is a retired naturalist from the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, who discovered his passion for butterflies after he had planted Dutchman’s pipe for a work project.
However, when he saw Pipevine swallowtail butterflies gathering around the plant, he knew what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. Therefore, he decided that his mission was to bring his contribution to protecting butterfly species, including monarch butterflies, which are probably the most endangered.
Around a month ago, on May 31st, Luby held a presentation consisting of the migration, eating habits, and the entire life cycle of the monarch butterflies at the Somonauk Public Library. According to him, after becoming interested in monarch butterflies, he started planting milkweed as soon as possible.
Seeing that it is not enough and that butterflies need more milkweed, Luby doubled his efforts and managed to help the monarchs’ population from that area to become more stable. Now, he has nine milkweed circles in his backyard thanks to his work.
Milkweed is vital for this species of butterflies because females lay their eggs only in milkweed leaves. Plus, it represents a primary source of food for the larvae until they are ready to become adult specimens.
Monarch butterflies are divided into two different migratory populations, known as Danaus plexippus. One of them lives in southern Canada, eastern and central United States. This population migrates every year to Michoacán, Mexico, and stays there from November to March, until the temperatures are warm enough to migrate back in the U.S. and Canada.
The other population lives on the west side of the Rocky Mountains and migrates to the coast of California every year, where they spend the winter. March represents the start of the breeding season for Monarchs when tens of millions of specimens start migrating north.
The migration consists of a three-generation journey, each of them living just a couple of weeks. Nevertheless, the fourth generation lives from three to four months. This generation is also the one that makes the 2,500-mile journey back to Mexico.