Monarchs and Milkweed – The Precarious Cycle | My Altona Forest
In this section, learn about how cardenolides in milkweed benefit monarchs, The lack of knowledge on the relationship between milkweed, monarchs, and. Their interaction is part Commensalism and part Mutualism because The Monarch butterfly/caterpillar depends heavily on the Milkweed for. Symbiotic meaning that they benefit from each other's presence. symbiotic relationship, albeit, not between the beetle and the milkweed, but is not and attracts a wide assortment of butterflies and other interesting insects.
It is the amazing life story of the monarch — a delicate summer breeze- borne butterfly that has the endurance to travel the length of a continent. Each year as our summer fades these fragile beauties begin their epic journey south.
Past the Great Lakes, through the Appalachian forests, and past the Texas coasts all the way to a few acres of Oyamel fir cloud forest in Mexico.
A primer on coevolution: monarch & milkweeds – Insects on Plants, Chemical Ecology, and Coevolution
Changes to global weather patterns have decimated populations in their wintering grounds — like the deep freeze of a couple years ago. Still these few small areas of central Mexico are the only places they travel to. When you see a monarch arrive in your garden, stop and realize that it has taken generations to get here. They slowly began to make their way across the US and stopped to have another generation. If all goes well, the second or third generation will make it to your back yard.
Many starve if they cannot find sufficient wildflower nectar in farmlands to sustain them, and rainstorms, windstorms, and pesticides are often fatal to them.
A primer on coevolution: monarch & milkweeds
There is a symbiotic relationship between the native milkweed plants and the monarch. The monarch butterflies enjoy the nectar from the flowers and help pollinate the plants.
Unfortunately, there are no substitutes for where monarchs can lay their eggs. Swamp milkweed in Altona Forest damp growing conditions Monarch on common milkweed dry growing conditions Milkweed is a broad-leafed native plant that is used by monarchs as their only nursery.
Coevolution: Milkweed and Monarchs
Monarchs lay eggs on the undersides of the leaves and their larvae become striped caterpillars and feed on the leaves as they develop. Without the milkweed, the caterpillars would die — but Ontario put milkweed on the noxious weeds list which forced its eradication.
So how does an arms race between monarchs and milkweeds, or between cats and mice, or between lions and wildebeest, or between plants and their pathogenic fungi, proceed? Once a monarch butterfly lays an egg on a milkweed plant, the natural history of coevolution unfolds. For every defense that the plant mounts, milkweed mounts a counter defense.
Coevolution: Milkweed and Monarchs – kelseytambio
Once the caterpillar hatches, it must contend with a bed of dense hairs that are a barrier to consumption of the leaf. But monarchs are patient, and have coevolved with the milkweed. So their first strategy is to shave that bed of hairs such that the caterpillar has access to the leaves that lie beneath. But next, when the monarch caterpillar sinks its mandibles into the milkweed leaf, it encounters a sticky, poisonous liquid called latex.
And so the arms race continues, with reciprocal natural selection resulting in coevolution between monarchs and milkweeds. In my book, Monarchs and Milkweed, I outline the third level of defense and counter defense between these two enemies.
Milkweed next mounts a remarkable and highly toxic defense chemical called a cardiac glycoside.