Friday Cat-erpillar Blogging: Protecting the Monarchs

Monarch Larva on Milkweed Leaf

Monarch Larva on Milkweed Leaf

Yesterday, I wrote about tropical milkweed serving as a host that allows Monarchs infected with disease to overwinter in the Southern US. This maintains a reservoir of disease over the winter. During the summer, tropical milkweed, Asclepias curassavica can help protect Monarchs. Cardenolides are protective against predators. Tropical milkweed has a cardenolide content that is much higher than some other milkweeds, such as swamp milkweed, Asclepias incarnata. Thus, a monarch feeding on tropical milkweed may be better protected from predators.

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
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