Monarch butterflies in an eucalpytus tree, a chrysalis, and an eucalyptus grove

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      On this page you can discover summaries of primary literature by undergraduate students, read publications and reports, and view relevant data graphs. 

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Primary Literature Summaries

In an article published in the journal Molecular Ecology, researchers report on a monarch butterfly gene that has experienced two mutations. Previous research proposed that both of these mutations may provide monarch butterflies with resistance to cardenolide First, something about cardenolides and then back to mutations. Cardenolides are a type of steroid. Many plants contain its derivatives, collectively known as cardenolides, including many that contain structural groups derived from sugars. Cardenolide glycosides are often toxic; specifically, they can stop hearts.

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Management practices at western monarch butterfly overwintering sites are often based on the "common knowledge" that monarchs "prefer" eucalyptus. Yet whether or not monarchs prefer eucalyptus has never been formally tested, in part because such a test would require that monarchs have a choice (options) and express a preference given those options. A test of the hypothesis is provided here.

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Monarch Alert Reports from 2002 to 2010



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Latest Survey Data

For more information regarding the graph data, contact Francis Villablanca, Ph.D. at

Graph of average number of monarchs counted in Monterey County from 12/16 to 2/15/2012. Highest average in Pacific Grove Monarch Sanctuary. Second highest in private property, Big Sur.Graph of average number of monarchs counted in San Luis Obispo County from 12/10/2011 to 2/9/2012. Highest average in PBSPN Campground, second highest in Morro Bay Golf Course.

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