Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 


Ever wonder where Monarch butterflies go for the winter?

Ever wonder where Monarch butterflies go for the winter?

The Monarch Butterfly New Zealand Trust is looking for ‘citizen scientists’ throughout the country to report sightings as the Monarchs follow their annual migration. A degree is not needed; anyone can take part, and everyone, schools included, are welcome to join the Trust’s annual project.

Secretary Jacqui Knight says if we are to conserve species effectively it is vital we monitor how they are faring. Small white tags, each with a unique number, are being applied to the wings of migrating Monarchs. Already tagged Monarchs are being seen on their journeys and people are reporting tag numbers to the website of the Trust.

“The status of our flora and fauna depends on the effects of climate change, pollution, alien species and land management,” Jacqui said. “We need to know more about our insects to predict the impacts of such change and to develop an appropriate response.”

Butterflies are uniquely placed to act as indicators of environmental change.

“By tagging and following Monarchs we can use them as indicators of the status of our environment here in NZ. Tagging serves a dual purpose – not simply by collecting critical data, but also by introducing people to the method and purpose of scientific investigation.”

Monarch butterflies typically form large clusters, sometimes containing hundreds or thousands of butterflies, on trees in well-sheltered areas over the colder winter months. Until the Trust started tracking Monarchs there was little research being done as to why butterflies appeared to be retreating from urban areas.

“This is important,” says Jacqui. “We need to find out where the Monarchs overwinter because this late summer generation forms the breeding stock for next year’s Monarch population.”

It’s not only Monarchs: Data is needed on other butterflies and moths too, such as the Forest Ringlet and Red Admirals. Entomologists are concerned about NZ’s endemic Lepidoptera.

South Island lepidopterist Brian Patrick talks of a tiny purple copper butterfly which now exists only in one coastal car park.

“It’s teetering on the very edge of survival,” he said.

“The plight of our butterfly fauna is heavily dependent on human respect if they are to survive and thrive. Several butterflies are threatened with extinction even before they are described.”

Overseas countries have learned the hard way – it is not too late for us to undertake research. People are being encouraged to report sightings of all butterflies and day-flying moths on the Trust’s website, and also to help with tagging.

In Britain FMCG giant Marks & Spencer is raising awareness of the importance of butterflies and moths, encouraging sustainable agriculture and so improving the environment for everyone.

The Monarch Butterfly New Zealand Trust is keen to involve gardeners, nature-lovers, trampers, schools, and home-schooled children in these projects.

All the information needed to register and to play your part is under projects on the Monarch Butterfly NZ Trust website: www.monarch.org.nz. If you have don’t have the technology, you can write to the Monarch NZ Trust, PO Box 44100, Pt Chevalier, Auckland 1246.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Must Sell 20 Petrol Stations: Z Cleared To Buy Caltex Assets

Z Energy is allowed to buy the Caltex and Challenge! petrol station chains but must sell 19 of its retail sites and one truck-stop, the Commerce Commission has ruled in a split decision that acknowledges possible retail price coordination between fuel retailers occurs in some regions. More>>

ALSO:

Huntly: Genesis Extends Life Of Coal-Fuelled Power Station To 2022

Genesis Energy will keep its two coal and gas-fired units at Huntly Power Station operating until 2022, having previously said they'd be closed by 2018, after wringing a high price from other electricity generators who wanted to keep them as back-up. More>>

ALSO:

Dammed If You Do: Ruataniwha Irrigation Scheme Hits Farmer Uptake Targets

Enough Hawke's Bay farmers have signed up for water from the proposed Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme for it to go ahead as long as a cornerstone institutional capital investor can be found to back it, its regional council promoter announced. More>>

ALSO:

Reserve Bank: OCR Stays At 2.25%

Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler kept the official cash rate at 2.25 percent, in a decision traders had said could go either way, while predicting inflation will pick up as the slump in oil prices washes out of the data and capacity pressures start to build in the economy. More>>

ALSO:

Export Values Down: NZ Posts Biggest Annual Trade Deficit In 7 Years

New Zealand has recorded its biggest annual trade deficit since April 2009, reflecting weaker prices of agricultural commodities such as dairy products, beef and lamb, and increased imports of vehicles and machinery. More>>

ALSO:

Currency Events: NZ's New $5 Note Wins International Banknote Award

New Zealand’s new Brighter Money $5 note has been named Banknote of the Year in a prestigious international competition. The $5 note was awarded the IBNS Banknote of the Year title at the International Bank Note Society’s annual meeting. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news