Ecological Niches in Sequential Generations of Eastern North American Monarch Butterflies (Lepidoptera: Danaidae): The Ecology of Migration and Likely Climate Change Implications

Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN 55108, USA.
Environmental Entomology (Impact Factor: 1.3). 01/2008; 36(6):1365-73. DOI: 10.1603/0046-225X(2007)36[1365:ENISGO]2.0.CO;2
Source: PubMed


Eastern North American monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus L.) show a series of range shifts during their breeding season. Using ecological niche modeling, we studied the environmental context of these shifts by identifying the ecological conditions that monarchs use in successive summer months. Monarchs use a consistent ecological regimen through the summer, but these conditions contrast strikingly with those used during the winter. Hence, monarchs exhibit niche-following among sequential breeding generations but niche-switching between the breeding and overwintering stages of their annual cycle. We projected their breeding ecological niche onto monthly future climate scenarios, which indicated northward shifts, particularly at the northern extreme of their summer movements, over the next 50 yrs; if both monarchs and their milkweed host plants cannot track these changing climates, monarchs could lose distributional area during critical breeding months.

Download full-text


Available from: Andrew Townsend Peterson,
    • "Since the surveys conducted by Silvie (1993) in restricted cereal and cotton-cropping areas, no large-scale quantitative surveys have been undertaken in the country. The abundance and distribution of stem-borer pests and their main natural enemies are expected to vary considerably with the current climate variability (Parmesan et al., 1999; Batalden et al., 2007; Trnka et al., 2007). The objectives of this study were to (i) assess the relative importance of the different stem borer species and their associated natural enemies on maize, and (ii) evaluate cereal producers' perception on the effect of the current climate variability, on the maize stem and ear borers and on their mitigation strategies to alleviate the impact of climate change on their cropping system. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Objective: The objectives of this study were to (i) assess the importance of the different stemborer species and their associated natural enemies on maize, and (ii) evaluate cereal producers’ perception on the effect of the current climate variability, on the maize stem and ear borers and their mitigation strategies to alleviate the impact of climate change on their cropping system. Methodology and results: Surveys were conducted in 2012 during the long cropping season lasting from March to July and the short one from September to October in southern Togo, to determine geographic distribution, relative importance of lepidopterous stemborers and their parasitism by natural enemies on maize. A questionnaire was introduced to evaluate cereal farmers’ perception of climate change and its effects on maize stem and ear borers. Of the total borer species recovered, the most abundant was Sesamia calamistis Hampson (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) (76.02%), followed by Busseola fusca Füller (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) (21.71%) and then Eldana saccharina Walker (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae) (2.27%). The borers’ abundance was affected by the agroecological zones and cropping seasons. Eldana saccharina was found in Zio and Yoto in coastal zone whereas B. fusca was recorded only in Yoto. Sesamia calamistis was the only species found in all the surveyed agroecological zones (III, IV and V). Fields were infested by all borer species at 34.4% and 83.3% in the long and short cropping seasons respectively. The percentage of infested plants ranged from 0 to 72% in the first cropping season, and 33 to 95% in the second cropping season. The borer densities varied from 0 to 3 larvae per plant in the long cropping season and 1 to 8 larvae per plant in the short cropping season. The egg parasitoid Telenomus busseolae Gahan (Hymenoptera: Scelionidae) was identified as the most important with a high natural parasitism rate of 82% on S. calamistis. The main larval parasitoid recorded was Sturmiopsis parasitica Curan (Diptera: Tachnidae) with mean parasitism ranged of between 0 and 8%. Beauveria bassiana (Bals.) Vuill. (Deuteromycotina: Hyphomycetes) infection rate vary from 0 to 5%.of borers’ larvae. Data on farmer’s perception showed that all producers recognized stem and ear borers and their damages. However, they perceive climate change effects differently by high temperatures, rains irregularity, floods, strong winds and to a lesser extent the proliferation of new pests such as termites (Isoptera), Zonocerus variegatus (L) (Orthoptera: Pyrgomorphidae) and Cicadulina spp. (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae). Adaptation strategies practiced by farmers are the choice of early maturing crop varieties, the spacing of sowing period and the crop diversification. Conclusion and application of funding: From these results, we conclude that S. calamistis, E. saccharina, and B. fusca and their associated natural enemies are present in all agroecological zones of southern Togo. These findings could serve as baseline data for further studies.
  • Source
    • "These crude projections are in line with niche modeling that shows the optimal climate window tracking north based on a 50 year climate projection (Batalden et al., 2007). No modeling approach has yet captured the full complexity of how climate interacts with all the potential factors that influence monarch population growth, including the condition and number of incoming migrants from Mexico, milkweed growth and congruence with monarch arrivals, natural enemies, and appropriate climatic environments for activity and growth throughout each phase of their migratory cycle. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Understanding the impacts of climate on migratory species is complicated by the fact that these species travel through several climates that may be changing in diverse ways throughout their complete migratory cycle. Most studies are not designed to tease out the direct and indirect effects of climate at various stages along the migration route. We assess the impacts of spring and summer climate conditions on breeding monarch butterflies, a species that completes its annual migration cycle over several generations. No single, broad-scale climate metric can explain summer breeding phenology or the substantial year-to-year fluctuations observed in population abundances. As such, we built a Poisson regression model to help explain annual arrival times and abundances in the Midwestern United States. We incorporated the climate conditions experienced both during a spring migration/breeding phase in Texas as well as during subsequent arrival and breeding during the main recruitment period in Ohio. Using data from a state-wide butterfly monitoring network in Ohio, our results suggest that climate acts in conflicting ways during the spring and summer seasons. High spring precipitation in Texas is associated with the largest annual population growth in Ohio and the earliest arrival to the summer breeding ground, as are intermediate spring temperatures in Texas. On the other hand, the timing of monarch arrivals to the summer breeding grounds is not affected by climate conditions within Ohio. Once in Ohio for summer breeding, precipitation has minimal impacts on overall abundances, whereas warmer summer temperatures are generally associated with the highest expected abundances, yet this effect is mitigated by the average seasonal temperature of each location in that the warmest sites receive no benefit of above average summer temperatures. Our results highlight the complex relationship between climate and performance for a migrating species and suggest that attempts to understand how monarchs will be affected by future climate conditions will be challenging.
    Global Change Biology 10/2012; 18(10). DOI:10.1111/j.1365-2486.2012.02751.x · 8.04 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "When modelling migratory species, different spatial and temporal patterns of seasonal ranges with corresponding environmental parameters should be considered (Oberhauser and Peterson, 2003). This enables more reliable predictions of species distribution during the year to be made and has already been successfully applied to butterflies (Batalden et al., 2007) and birds (Martinez-Meyer et al., 2004). The general problem of modelling marine species with widely changing seasonal distributions is lack of reliable and comprehensive occurrence data with accurate dates of recording. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: 1. Anthropogenic climate change affects both phenology and distribution patterns of the world's biota including marine species. During the last decade, species distribution models have been more frequently used to assess the potential distributions of species and possible effects of climate change. However, unlike for terrestrial species, there have been few investigations assessing climate change effects on distribution patterns of marine organisms. 2. An overview of marine species distribution modelling is given. Possibilities of how to characterize and project the environmental niches of species onto climatic change scenarios are highlighted and novel techniques for addressing specific needs in a 3-D context are proposed. A detailed introduction into different modelling tools and databases for environmental parameters given provides a starting point for the application of these models. 3. Application of a species distribution model and its projections onto a glacial and future scenario on a global scale are presented for the great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) for illustrative purposes. An approach for addressing marine migratory species with seasonal distribution patterns is presented.
    Aquatic Conservation Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems 01/2011; 21(1). DOI:10.1002/aqc.1160 · 2.14 Impact Factor
Show more