A study has found that the total number of butterflies west of the Rockies Mountains has dropped by 1.6% a year since 1977: “It’s crazy when you excite it.”

New research has found that the diverse and beautiful butterfly species inhabiting the western United States have become extinct due to the climate crisis, with rising temperatures helping to bring about a sharp decline in the number of butterflies over the past 40 years.

Researchers estimate that there has been a 1.6% decrease in the total number of butterflies observed west of the Rock Mountains each year since 1977, which equates to a staggering loss of butterflies over the course of the study period.

Matt Forister, a professor of biology at the University of Canada, said: “You pronounce it and it sounds crazy, but it’s consistent with the ‘windshield effect’ that people no longer take the time to clean their car windows of bugs.

“Certainly many species of butterflies are becoming very rare, and it is difficult for some to see what species were once common and widespread.”

This decline wipes out many beloved species, such as the monarch butterfly, which became famous for its spectacular migrations to California each year, but lost 99% of its population 40 years ago. “It seems with the King that we are on the verge of losing immigration if we are not special,” Forrester said.

The research, published in Science, analyzed butterfly sightings collected by citizens at 72 locations across the western United States. In all, more than 450 species of butterflies were included in the study.

Through all of these scenes, the researchers found an annual decrease of 1.6% in the number of Western butterflies, which corresponds to the decline of other insects discovered by researchers around the world, leading to concerns about a deeper crisis among species. It helps to provide more of our food, to break down waste, and to lay critical foundations for the web of life.

Butterflies, like other insects, are adversely affected by habitat loss and the use of toxic pesticides, and the researchers noted that in their study, global warming caused the butterflies to become permanently extinct, even without these other pressures.

This is due to the rapid drying of plants in late summer, i.e. lack of nectar by butterflies or obstruction to the stagnation of hot winter butterflies, which worsens during the colder months, ie spring.

“We have open land to the west and people often struggle to understand that temperatures can make a big difference by a few degrees, but they can,” Forrester said. “We see these effects of climate change even in beautiful natural areas, and my feeling is that butterflies have already lost areas that have been damaged by agriculture or urbanization.”

Forrester said that as temperatures continue to rise, conservation of wildflower areas and reduction of certain chemicals could provide humans with a room for butterflies to breathe.

Dara Satterfield, a butterfly researcher at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, who was not involved in the study, said “degradation is of extreme environmental concern.” “We know that butterflies and moths act as pollinators, decomposers, food carriers and food sources for birds and other wildlife.

“This study is consistent with other large datasets around the world and shows us that over the past few decades, new barriers to the survival of a number of butterfly species have been introduced.”

Fastest butterflies: Leader


Leaders are natural short-distance players. They can reach speeds of up to 37 miles per hour and have some of the fastest reversals in nature. They have the ability to run with a horse and are named according to their fast flight patterns.

There are nearly 4,000 species of skippers found all over the world except Antarctica.

Researchers have recently found that when leaders are frightened, they react at least twice as fast as humans.

Huertas declares: “Faster reactions and flying speeds help leaders avoid danger and predators.”

Largest butterflies: Ornithoptera alexandrae

Queen Alexandra’s bird wings are the largest butterflies in the world, measuring about 27 inches [27 cm].

The endangered species lives in the rainforests of northern Papua New Guinea and plays an important role in the ecosystem.

Its size allows it to pollinate large plants that other insects cannot handle. Unfortunately, its habitat is rapidly being cut down for palm oil plantations.

Females have dark brown creamy spots and yellow bellies, while males are bright green.

Huertas says: “The largest recorded specimen with wingspan of 27.3 cm is found in the Museum’s moth collection.

“The model was collected in the late 1800s, but it still looks like it was collected yesterday.”


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