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Monarch butterflies raised in captivity don’t migrate

In what may be a cautionary tale for citizen scientists trying to save North America’s iconic monarch butterfly, new research has found that butterflies raised in captivity are sometimes unable to migrate—some as a result of missing genes and others for want of the right environmental cues.  A graduate student discovered this genetic shortfall after buying dozens of monarchs and tethering them to a short pole—a common method to test what direction an insect wants to fly. Tethered wild-caught monarchs consistently headed south, the same direction they fly during their annual journeys from the United States and Canada to Mexico. But neither commercially sourced monarchs nor local individuals raised indoors did. They tended to head in random directions.  Read more...

 

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