Adapting Butterflies

Western monarch butterflies from the Pacific Northwest to California may not be going extinct as earlier feared, but are instead changing their breeding habitats and adapting to climate change.

A Washington State University expert says last winter’s count of the colorful insects revealed a sharp drop, especially across much of Southern California, where the number plunged from about 300,000 three years ago to just 1,914 in 2020.

But entomologist David James says large populations were observed by citizen scientists in metropolitan Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area, where they had seldom been seen wintering before.

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