9,649 Monarchs Were Monitored by Volunteers Across North America in the 4th Monarch Blitz

Monarch Blitz 2020

The results suggest we need to continue our efforts to conserve this species.

Montreal, 29 September 2020—The Commission for Environmental Cooperation is pleased to announce the results of the fourth annual International Monarch Monitoring Blitz. Between July 24 and August 2, 520 volunteers across 68 states and provinces participated in the Blitz. They recorded 9,649 monarchs at various stages of their life cycle, from eggs to butterflies. And together, they monitored 40,321 milkweed plants, the sole food source for monarch caterpillars.

“This year’s Blitz is a great example of how people all across North America are taking the monarch situation seriously,” said Alessandro Dieni, Mission Monarch Coordinator, at one of the organizations leading this initiative, the Insectarium | Montréal Space for Life.

For one week, over 500 volunteers in Canada, Mexico and the United States helped monarch experts gain more information to better understand the distribution of the migratory monarch butterfly, an emblematic North American species.

“Even though there were many challenges this year, people managed to help the scientific community gather more data on monarchs and milkweeds. It is inspiring to see how people care about the monarch’s wellbeing, and how they mobilize themselves to be part of its conservation,” added Dieni.

The information collected will help researchers identify priority areas for monarch conservation actions. The data gathered are accessible for anyone to consult and download on the Trinational Monarch Knowledge Network.

Importantly, results suggest that the monarch summer population is smaller than last year. In 2019, inspections across North America revealed an average of 24 caterpillars per 100 milkweed plants: three times higher than this year’s 8 caterpillars per 100 milkweed plants. These results sadly parallel the observed decline of the overwintering population measured last winter in Mexico.

This year was particularly notable, however, because volunteers surveyed more milkweed per person than in previous years. We thank our dedicated volunteers, who do incredible work for the protection of monarchs and milkweeds. Indeed, the higher ratio of observations per participants is not the only highlight of this 2020 Blitz: in Mexico, there were more participants and observations of milkweed and monarch than ever before.

Efforts must continue to create and protect the monarch’s habitat and actively participate in community science programs like the Blitz. The North American monarch butterfly is an iconic and fascinating species that still needs our help.

For more information on this year’s results, visit the website or follow the #MonarchBlitz on social media. You can also check out resources in your region:

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Media Contact – CEC
Sarah Julien
sjulien@cec.org
514-781-2781

Media Contact – Insectarium | Montréal Space for Life
Marie-Joëlle Filion
marie-joelle.filion@montreal.ca
514-868-4840

The Blitz is an initiative of the Trinational Monarch Conservation Science Partnership, which includes collaboration between the following organizations:

Comisión Nacional de Áreas Naturales Protegidas
The National Commission of Natural Protected Areas (Conanp) is an agency of the federal government of Mexico in charge of the administration of the protected natural areas. @GobiernoMX

US Fish and Wildlife Service
The US Fish and Wildlife Service is a leader in fish and wildlife conservation, known for its scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources. @USFWS

Insectarium/Montréal Space for Life
The Montréal Space for Life Insectarium is the largest museum in North America entirely dedicated to insects, immersing humans into the insect universe. @EspacePourLaVie

Monarch Joint Venture
The Monarch Joint Venture is a partnership of organizations working together to conserve the monarch migration for future generations. @MonarchsJV

Journey North
Journey North is an international citizen science project of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum that engages citizen scientists in a global study of wildlife migration and seasonal change. @journeynorth

Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation
The Xerces Society is a nonprofit organization that protects the natural world by conserving invertebrates and their habitat. @xercessociety

Science and Technology Branch – Wildlife Research and Landscape Science Directorate, Environment and Climate Change Canada
The Wildlife Research and Landscape Science directorate is a national leader on research investigating the impacts of toxics and human activity on wildlife, including the mechanisms resulting in population declines of species at risk. @ECCCSciTech /  @LandSciTech