The Xerces Society has started project to help Monarch Butterflies and their host plants, Milkweeds. Monarch Populations across North America have been in serious decline.
This project is part of a collaborative effort to map and better understand monarch butterflies and their host plants across the Western U.S. Data compiled through this project will improve our understanding of the distribution and phenology of monarchs and milkweeds, identify important breeding areas, and help us better understand monarch conservation needs. Some of the key research questions that these data will help us answer include:
- Where are different milkweed species growing in the West?
- Where are monarchs occurring in the West?
- Where are monarchs breeding in the West?
- When is milkweed emerging and senescing (dying back) in the West?
- How does milkweed phenology (life cycle) differ by species?
- When is monarch breeding occurring in specific areas/regions of the West?
- What types of habitats are different milkweed species associated with?
How Can You Help?
Your help is critical to the success of this project! Because monarchs and their host plants are found all across the western U.S., the best way to document them is to engage a multitude of volunteers and their cameras. You can participate in this effort by using this website to:
- Upload your photos of monarchs and milkweeds;
- Identify milkweeds using our milkweed key, which profiles over 40 milkweed species found in the west;
- Submit data which will help researchers determine the distribution, phenology, and conservation needs of monarchs and milkweeds in the west; and
- Learn about monarchs, their host plants, and ongoing conservation efforts for these species.
To participate and see more at: About | Western Monarch Milkweed Mapper