Study

An evaluation of butterfly ardens for restoring habitat for the monarch butterfly (Lepidoptera: Danaidae)

  • Published source details Cutting B.T. & Tallamy D.W. (2015) An evaluation of butterfly ardens for restoring habitat for the monarch butterfly (Lepidoptera: Danaidae). Environmental Entomology, 44, 1328-1335.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Plant parks, gardens and road verges with appropriate native species

Action Link
Butterfly and Moth Conservation

Replant native vegetation

Action Link
Butterfly and Moth Conservation
  1. Plant parks, gardens and road verges with appropriate native species

    A replicated, site comparison study in 2009–2010 in 20 residential gardens and five meadows in Pennsylvania, USA (Cutting & Tallamy 2015) found that common milkweed Asclepias syriaca planted in gardens was used by monarch butterflies Danaus plexippus more than milkweed planted in meadows, but caterpillar survival was similar across the sites. Milkweed patches in gardens contained more monarch eggs (47–109 eggs/plot) than milkweed patches in meadows (7–45 eggs/plot). Egg and caterpillar survival was similar in gardens (6.9–8.7%) and meadows (3.9–11.4%). In May–June 2009, twenty milkweed plants were planted in each of twenty 2-m2 plots (130–1,500 m apart, >500 m from the nearest known milkweed) in heavily managed lawns and gardens and forty 2-m2 plots across five minimally managed native meadows. Plants were grown from seed in greenhouses, surrounding vegetation was cut prior to planting, and sites were watered periodically. Plants were searched for eggs and caterpillars nine times from July–September 2009, and six times from 19–29 August 2010. Eggs and caterpillars were removed or marked to avoid double-counting. Monitoring ended if fewer than four healthy plants remained. On half of the plants at each site, survival of marked eggs and caterpillars was monitored over 11–14 days from the third week of August each year.

    (Summarised by: Andrew Bladon)

  2. Replant native vegetation

    A replicated, site comparison study in 2009–2010 in five meadows and 20 residential gardens in Pennsylvania, USA (Cutting & Tallamy 2015) found that common milkweed Asclepias syriaca planted in meadows had fewer monarch butterflies Danaus plexippus eggs than milkweed planted in gardens, but caterpillar survival was similar across the sites. Milkweed patches in meadows (7–45 eggs/plot) contained fewer monarch eggs than milkweed patches in gardens (47–109 eggs/plot). Egg and caterpillar survival was similar in meadows (3.9–11.4%) and gardens (6.9–8.7%). In May–June 2009, twenty milkweed plants were planted in each of forty 2-m2 plots across five minimally managed native meadows and twenty 2-m2 plots in heavily managed lawns and gardens. In the meadows, 20 plots were located among existing milkweed patches, and 20 were planted >10 m from the nearest milkweed plants. Plants were grown from seed in greenhouses, surrounding vegetation was cut prior to planting, and sites were watered periodically. Plants were searched for eggs and caterpillars nine times from July–September 2009, and six times from 19–29 August 2010. Eggs and caterpillars were removed or marked to avoid double-counting. Monitoring ended if fewer than four healthy plants remained. On half of the plants at each site, survival of marked eggs and caterpillars was monitored over 11–14 days from the third week of August each year.

    (Summarised by: Andrew Bladon)

Output references
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