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Happenings in the insect world
by Paul Cherubini
on December 1, 2018 at 10:51 PM
Predators on the milkweed plants (ants, spiders, earwigs, hemipterans, wasps, etc.) eat very roughly about 90-95% of monarch eggs and caterpillars and their abundance varies from year to year. Another roughly 5-10% of caterpillars and chrysalids are killed by parasites such as tachinid flies and chalcid wasps. For logistical reasons, predator and parasite populations cannot be annually monitored and measured on a landscape scale, but fluctuations in their abundance greatly influence whether or not regional adult monarch population will rise or fall. Long term trends in milkweed stem and patch abundance also greatly influences trends in adult monarch abundance and their populations are not annually monitored and measured either.
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