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Where are the monarch butterflies?

Where are the monarch butterflies?


For immediate release

Have you seen large numbers of Monarchs?

Jacqui Knight, secretary of the Moths and Butterflies of NZ Trust, is puzzled.

“Where are monarch butterflies overwintering,” she asks. “We have received reports of new locations this year but nothing from other parts of NZ. And in some parts of the country females are still laying eggs and caterpillars munching away.”

Historically every year, at the end of the summer, monarch butterflies go into diapause. This means that although they’re sexually mature they won’t breed until the spring. Instead, they accumulate in trees, gathering on the sunny or sheltered side in large numbers, waiting out the winter, only coming out on sunny days to top up their nectar reserves.

However this year there have been no sightings recorded from some parts of the country.

“There is something truly magical about seeing large numbers of monarchs in the treetops,” she said. “It makes you reflect on the environment, about biodiversity, and gives you hope for the future. If these insects have been surviving for millions of years, there’s hope for us all.”

Most reports have come from Maygrove Park, Orewa; Harbour View Rd, Te Atatu; Glendale Park, Glen Eden; Blockhouse Bay Recreational Reserve; Waiheke Island; Ferndale, Mt Albert; Jordan and Jellicoe Parks, Onehunga; Whakatane Gardens; Nelson Rd, Gisborne; Vardon Park, Hamilton Public Gardens; Levin; Memorial Square, Martinborough; Clive; and St James Park, Christchurch.

“There used to be many reports from Christchurch, Timaru and Oamaru,” she said. “But not this year. We encourage people to post reports on the special webpage for this purpose: so we can study what is happening with these beautiful butterflies.

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