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Habitat help for monarchs

  • ##Monarchs have decreased 90 percent since the 1990s, imperiling the population we see in Wisconsin, which is known for its spectacular 2,000- to 3,000-mile yearly migration to Mexico. Photo by Jay Watson, DNR
  • ##Habitat loss through the monarch’s breeding range, which includes Wisconsin, is considered the primary cause of the monarch population’s crash. As a result, one of the best things we can do for monarchs is to create new habitat for them. DNR’s Natural Heritage Conservation program is restoring habitat on public lands; you can help too at home. Photo by Armund Bartz, DNR
  • ##Most monarch adults live only a few weeks, but those produced in the last generation each year can live up to 9 months, allowing individual butterflies to migrate from Wisconsin to Mexico in the fall, spend the winter months clustered by the tens of thousands in the forests of the Sierra Madre Mountains in Mexico, and then fly north as far as Texas or Oklahoma in the spring where they lay eggs and launch the next generations of monarchs. It can take 2 or 3 more generations, each traveling farther north, for monarchs to return to Wisconsin.
  • ##Native milkweeds are the only food source for monarch caterpillars. Photo by Jay Watson, DNR
  • ##Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa) shown in the photo, Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca), Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) and Whorled Milkweed (Asclepias verticillata) are among the most common in Wisconsin. Photo by Armund Bartz, DNR
  • ##Adult monarchs need flowering plants for nectar across the growing season. Prairie phlox, choke cherry and prairie lily are among early season nectar plants. Photo by Jay Watson, DNR
  • ##Goldenrods are good nectar plants in mid to late summer. Photo by Ryan Brady, DNR
  • ##Prairie blazing star (Liatris pycnostachya) provides nectar into August. Find a list of native plant nurseries, guides to native plants, and other useful information on DNR’s Natural Heritage Conservation Native Pollinator web page. You also can sign up to receive periodic email or text updates about monarch or other pollinator conservation news in Wisconsin. DNR file photo

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Last Revised: Tuesday September 5 2017