Monarchs, Minnesota’s state butterfly, now listed as endangered
The monarch butterfly – the state butterfly of Minnesota – fluttered a step closer to extinction this week, as scientists put the iconic orange-and-black insect on the endangered list because of its fast dwindling numbers.
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature added the migrating monarch butterfly for the first time to its “red list” of threatened species and categorized it as “endangered” — two steps from extinct.
The group estimates that the population of monarch butterflies in North America has declined up to 72% during the past decade.
Monarch caterpillars appear to feed exclusively on milkweed, which grows throughout Minnesota, including along the North Shore.
In North America, millions of monarch butterflies undertake the longest migration of any insect species known to science.
Some wildlife officials estimate the population of monarch butterflies in the eastern United States has declined between 85% and 95% since the 1990s.