Monarch Butterflies Thriving Amid Drought

California’s water scarcity problem may be wreaking havoc on the environment at large, but it’s giving an unlikely boost to one lucky insect: the monarch butterfly.

As Californians rush to replace green lawns with drought-resistant landscapes, some creatures are being choked out. But not so for the monarch, experts say. The once troubled butterfly is now thriving thanks to an abundance of milkweed—an increasingly popular drought-tolerant plant that just so happens to be a favorite among breeding monarchs.

The female monarch will only lay her eggs upon milkweed, so its increase in popularity has meant a proliferation of the state’s monarch population. That’s good news because the number of monarchs in North America has dropped from 1 billion to less than 60 million over the past two decades. Expert say this is largely due to the impact of pesticides on milkweed.

Read more about the drought’s impact on monarch butterflies here.

Image Credit: Flickr User docentjoyce, via (CC BY 2.0)