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You can join scientists on a monarch butterfly blitz

Monarch Butterfly
flickr user Paul VanDerWerf

It’s breeding season for monarch butterflies, and government officials from the U.S., Canada and Mexico want your help collecting data on them.

The second International Monarch Monitoring Blitz is underway, now through Sunday, August 5.

Mara Koenig is with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Midwest Region. She says you can write down the number of monarch butterflies you see this week, and take a close look at any milkweed plants you find.

“Then that’s when you can start looking for monarch eggs, which are deposited on the underside of the leaf of the milkweed. You can also look for the tiny caterpillars which we call larvae or instars,” she says.

Koenig says then, you can enter the info online into the Monarch Larva Monitoring Project.

She says monarch butterfly populations have declined by about 80% over the past 20 years. The Fish and Wildlife Service is deciding whether to list the butterfly as a threatened species.

Rebecca Williams is senior editor in the newsroom, where she edits stories and helps guide news coverage.
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