3 years ago



eastern North American

eastern North American butterflies. Forewings of monarchs from non-migratory monarch populations in South Florida are both smaller and rounder than forewings of migratory populations of D. p. plexippus (Dockx 2012). RANGE For D. p. plexippus in North America, the geographical range encompasses breeding areas, migration routes including staging areas, and winter roosts. During the spring and summer breeding season, D. p. plexippus disperses throughout the United States and southern Canada when successive generations migrate and expand north with the availability of suitable milkweeds as summer progresses. During winter, butterflies that primarily originate from east of the Rockies converge on specific locations in Mexico, contracting from a summer range of about 100 million hectares to winter roosts that total 20 hectares at most (Wassenaar and Hobson 1998, Oberhauser and Solensky 2004, p. 79, Commission for Environmental Cooperation 2008). Monarchs that breed along the east coast migrate to Florida (Knight and Brower 2009), where some fly west along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico and continue to Mexico, or apparently integrate into stable populations in Florida. A few continue migrating to Cuba and other islands in the Caribbean (Dockx 2012). Monarchs from west of the Rockies primarily fly to a series of roosting sites centered along coastal areas of south-central California (Jepsen and Black in press), although some migrate to the Mexican roosts used by eastern monarchs (Brower and Pyle 2004, Lyons et al. 2012). Some monarchs have established small non-migratory populations in southern Florida and areas along the Gulf of Mexico where they reside year-round. Some monarchs that migrate to Florida to overwinter apparently integrate into the stationary populations (Knight and Brower 2009), and some continue to Cuba and integrate into populations of a monarch subspecies found in the Caribbean (D. p. megalippe) (Dockx 2002, Dockx 2007, 2012). Since they do not migrate, some researchers classify monarchs in southern Florida as D. p. megalippe (Smith et al. 2005), but others consider them to be D. p. plexippus (Pelham 2008). The establishment of stationary populations in Florida and other southern areas may be facilitated by the spread of nonnative heat-tolerant milkweeds in the southeastern states (Harvey et al. 2009). In the past two centuries, D. p. plexippus has established small non-migratory populations in non-native habitats outside of continental North America (see Appendix A of this petition). Monarchs are thought to have moved both east and west of North America, and between various islands via favorable winds and storms, by hitchhiking on boats, and by intentional human introduction (Clarke and Zalucki 2004, Zalucki et al. 2004). During the mid- to late-1800s, monarchs spread across the Pacific Ocean to Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand, and many other islands (Zalucki and Clarke 2004). During this same time period, monarchs also moved across the Atlantic, colonizing islands including the Azores and Canary Islands, and coastal areas of Spain (Haeger et al. 2011). Various lines of evidence point to more than one introduction event in the Pacific, with populations in Hawaii and Australia likely forming independently (Lyons et al. 2012, Shephard et al. 2002), and other Pacific islands being colonized by radiation from original areas (Zalucki et al. 2004). Introduction and spread in the Atlantic and Spain have not been as well studied. Monarch ESA Petition 18

Based on the short amount of time since the introduction of D. p. plexippus outside of North America, these populations are still considered part of the nominal subspecies. Genetic analyses show that they have less genetic diversity than monarchs in North America, and are now genetically isolated (Lyons et al. 2012). Whether or not such differences constitute grounds for ultimately separating these disjunct populations into subspecies, there does appear to be enough reproductive isolation for them to have begun the process of speciation. See Appendix A for more information on populations of monarchs that have become established outside of their traditional North American range. LIFE HISTORY The life cycle of the monarch butterfly is intertwined directly with milkweed plants (Oberhauser 2004). The monarch life cycle has been described in great detail in various reports and proceedings (see: Malcolm and Zalucki 1993, Oberhauser and Solensky 2004, Commission for Environmental Cooperation 2008, Bériault et al. 2010). Photo © Jeffrey E. Belth Figure 2. Monarch egg on common milkweed leaf. Monarch ESA Petition 19

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