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Argentinian Ants affecting Monarchs as well

Argentinian Ants affecting Monarchs as well

Monarch butterfly lovers throughout New Zealand are concerned about the impact of Argentinian ants on the Monach butterfly population.

“We are getting emails and phone calls from people who report Monarchs being attacked,” said Jacqui Knight, spokesperson for the Trust. “We’ve heard of the ants knocking larvae (caterpillars) off their food plants and also eating the pupae (chrysalides). They’re a real nuisance.”

At this time of the year, Monarch butterfly lovers are trying to stave off attacks from other insect species as well – wasps and praying mantises are two which have a taste for Monarch flesh. And any prevention needs to be organic so that other insect life is not affected.

"This is just what the Trust was set up for," said Jacqui.

The Trust and its members have put together a website with a wealth of information to help encourage the Monarch, on http://monarch.org.nz New members are welcomed and receive regular newsletters packed with tips. As well, the Trustees are currently making plans for a unique Butterfly Room exhibit in Christchurch as part of February’s Festival of Flowers & Romance.

“Now this is very exciting,” continued Jacqui. “There’s never been anything like it before, and we’ve had great support from the international scientific community to put this event together.”

“It seems like the more we know about our friend the Monarch, the more we learn. And we’re meeting such fascinating people through our mutual interest.”

ENDS

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