Thursday, July 19, 2018
News

Rising carbon dioxide levels pose threat to monarch butterflies

   SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend    Print this Page   COMMENT

Washington D.C. [USA] | July 11, 2018 10:11:38 AM IST
A new study revealed that mounting levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide minimise the medicinal properties of milkweed plants, thus posing an unrecognized threat to monarch butterflies.

Milkweed plants protect the iconic insects from various diseases. The leaves of the said plant contain bitter toxins that help monarchs ward off predators and parasites, and the plant is the sole food of monarch caterpillars.

Researchers at the University of Michigan grew four milkweed species with varying levels of those protective compounds, which are called cardenolides.

Half the plants were grown under normal carbon dioxide levels, and half of them were bathed, from dawn to dusk, in nearly twice that amount. Then the plants were fed to hundreds of monarch caterpillars.

The study showed that the most protective of the four milkweed species lost its medicinal properties when grown under elevated CO2, resulting in a steep decline in the monarch's ability to tolerate a common parasite, as well as a lifespan reduction of one week.

Researchers of the study solely looked at how elevated carbon dioxide levels alter plant chemistry and how those changes, in turn, affect interactions between monarchs and their parasites.

"Our results emphasize that global environmental change may influence parasite-host interactions through changes in the medicinal properties of plants," said Leslie Decker, first author of the study.

In recent years, monarch populations have been declining rapidly. Most discussions of the monarch butterfly's plight focus on habitat loss, logging of trees in the Mexican forest where monarchs spend the winter, as well as the loss of wild milkweed plants that sustain them during their annual migration.

The findings appeared in the Journal of Ecology Letters (ANI)

Watch News Videos

 
  LATEST COMMENTS (0)
POST YOUR COMMENT
Comments Not Available
 
POST YOUR COMMENT
 
TRENDING TOPICS
 
 
 
CITY NEWS
MORE CITIES
 
MORE SCIENCE NEWS
World's beaches eroding in protected mar...
Scientists discover new 'Maghalayan age'...
Britain announces its first ever spacesh...
Origins of pottery traced to Japan: Stud...
New book draws parallels between human b...
Scientists discover new 'Meghalayan age'...
More...
 
INDIA WORLD ASIA
Armed dacoits gang loot valuables worth ...
Greater Noida building collapse: Death t...
Mumbai boy ties up with Dabbawallas, lau...
Facebook CEO faces flak for refusing to ...
Woman falls victim to triple talaq over ...
Body of army jawan recovered on banks of...
More...    
 
 Top Stories
Sony India launches new portable mo... 
Vivo NEX with pop-up selfie camera,... 
Your canine friend can help reduce ... 
Jeff Goldblum's London statue marks... 
Frog sacrifice in rain-starved Biha... 
'Apartheid early example of state t... 
Ronaldo's trip to S. Korea postpone... 
Thinkwide to expand operations in 3...