Is the well-known Monarch butterfly with its iconic orange-and-black colors, headed towards extinction?
Almost every day this summer, monarchs can be seen on flowers outside our campus dining hall, where these pictures were taken. Ecologists say the number of monarchs has fallen dramatically. In North America, it is estimated that the population of the popular butterfly has declined by up to 70 percent in the past 10 years.
Biologists say loss of habitat and the increased use of pesticides are the main reasons. The alarming loss of monarchs recently prompted some international conservation groups to put the butterfly on its endangered species list.
Butterflies play an important part in all ecosystems because they help in the pollination of flowers and other plants.