Climate Change is Destroying Butterfly Populations


Climate Change Lays Waste to Butterflies Across American West

By Alex Fox/

Butterflies are in decline across the American West as climate change makes the region hotter and drier, reports Dino Grandoni for the Washington Post.

The new research, published last week in the journal Science, details winnowing butterfly populations across the majority of the 450 species evaluated by the researchers.

By combining decades of butterfly sighting data recorded by scientists and amateurs, the team found that the total number of butterflies observed west of the Rocky Mountains has fallen by 1.6 percent every year since 1977.

“You extrapolate it and it feels crazy but it’s consistent with the anecdotal ‘windshield effect’ where people aren’t spending time cleaning insects from their car windshields anymore,” Matt Forister, biologist at the University of Nevada and the study’s lead author, tells Oliver Milman of the Guardian. “Certainly many butterfly species are becoming so rare it’s hard for some people to see what were once widespread, common species.”

In particular, the iconic western monarch butterfly’s population has crashed to the tune of 99.9 percent, reports Liz Langley for National Geographic. But, per National Geographic, the declines have also pushed less famous species such as the Boisduval’s blue and the California dogface butterfly, California’s state insect, to the brink of extinction.

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  1. I DO NOT believe any of this “climate change” / “global warming” nonsense for one minute. Years ago, there was some weekly news magazine (I do not remember which one) that had a depiction of the earth on the front cover of the magazine and the earth was depicted as being half covered in ICE. Caption for the picture – “Ice Age Coming!”

    It was “global cooling” then and ‘global warming” now. If there is indeed any fact to this, then the rich bastards are the ones who should be paying for it, since the EFFECTIVE income tax rate for the rich and the corporations in the USA is the lowest it has been since the end of World War II and this is why the infrastructure of our country is crumbling. They are NOT paying their fair share and have pushed the tax burden onto the ever-shrinking American Middle Class.

  2. Article mentions the mostly blue butterfly, Boisduval’s blue. I spent many days of my childhood chasing butterflies. Blue ones are the rarest. The Celastrina family of blue butterflies (the Azures) are mostly blue, but with black on the front wings. But I had never seen a completely sky blue butterfly until I was 41 yrs old, and this one was sitting on the doorstep in my cold garage, when my daughter and I returned home from a devastating medical appointment. Seeing this amazing all-blue butterfly was like seeing an angel that isn’t supposed to exist. I have since learned that it was a male Celastrina lucia, real enough, except that it was not supposed to be where it was, near St Louis in October. That butterfly was like magic, it made my day, and I have not seen one since.

    • Pretty that one. I plant flowers to attract them; but see less and less. I think that the chemicals in modern agriculture and in gmo crops are mostly eradicating insects. But let us not forget the increase in gamma radiation. We are next, eh.

  3. Yes indeed !

    Why “Climate” and NOT pollution and pesticides and environmental contamination ? if not… radiation (gamma, or else) ?

  4. Climate change is man-made for sure. Next time you’re out taking a walk, look up in the sky and see the chemtrails laced throughout the skies then form a film covering the earth. Then do an analysis of your water from the tap and discover the nano particle heavy metals inserted in there.
    Before the freeze in Texas – the skies were laced and I have photos of these and have been following it since 2014 on a trip driving from Florida noticing the patterns sprayed. This is criminal and the military or private source conducting this genocide. I’d get into the Coronahoax and vaxx, but that’s another time and Billy Boy gates is involved in both including solar dimming.

  5. Moths also, the sort that chew on clothes or get in food are only few of the once-many varieties. search white line sphinx moth. Had saw one around fifteen years ago, mostly white and pink, less brown, neat moth, almost cross between moth and hummingbird, pollinator.
    – agree insects nearly gone, very few now.

  6. The fundamental problem is not either climate change or pesticides, it’s declining soil fertility. Simply put, soil fertility is the ability of the soil to produce protein. That depends on a dozen or so minerals being present in the soil. These minerals are being depleted by the action of rainwater slowly dissolving them and carrying them to the sea. Some of them end up as scale in your kettle.
    For five seasons I have been growing a butterfly host plant, Wild Lupine. Nature has been establishing a self sustaining crop that now seeds itself without my help and without any problem with weeds, invasive or otherwise. Although the caterpillars of three butterfly species that depend on the plant are locally extirpated, the local bumblebees (also in decline) come into the yard for the pollen when the lupine (a legume) flowers. They only gather pollen from the lupine while ignoring all other non-legume flowers in the yard. When the lupine finishes flowering, the bumblebees stop coming into the yard. In high soil fertility and only in high soil fertility, a legume produces high quality protein and the bumblebees recognize it.

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