Participate in the New Monarch Watch Citizen Scientist Project

Monarch Watch is seeking the immediate assistance of hundreds of monarch enthusiasts (citizen scientists) in collecting observations of monarchs in their area during the spring and fall. This project is an attempt to assemble quantitative data on monarch numbers at critical times during the breeding season. The data from these observations will be used to assess their value in predicting trends in the population.
You can read about this project at the Monarch Watch Blog.


Here is what we need you, as citizen scientists, to do:

1. Register as a participant in this project by providing your name, location (including latitude and longitude), and email address via the form at http://monarchwatch.org/register

To determine your geographic coordinates, please use any of the following sites (or others) to enter your city, state/province, and zip/postal code and retrieve your latitude and longitude in decimal form (e.g., latitude: 38.95 longitude: -95.27 for Lawrence, KS 66045).




Why do we need a “monarch calendar” and your help recording monarch numbers?

The decline in monarch numbers over the last 15 years has inspired numerous attempts to define critical factors that explain the inter-annual variation in monarch numbers. The data sets used for these analyses have had a variety of limitations which have either been ignored or underappreciated by the authors of a number of publications. The truth is that much of the data that is available is too general and does not adequately represent important aspects of the biology that underlies the development of the population each reproductive season.

There are numerous gaps in our knowledge and some of these gaps can be addressed if we can convince a large number of monarch enthusiasts (citizen scientists) to record the number of monarchs they see each day and what the monarchs are doing, along with general information about the physical conditions associated with each observation.

At the start of this project, we won’t ask participants to record behavior or physical conditions (temperatures and wind speed and direction) but a few observations and notes along those lines might be useful in targeting conditions most favorable for monarch activity. The pivotal latitude is 35N (e.g., Oklahoma City). If the observer is located at a latitude less than 35N (i.e., “South”), we need the number of monarchs seen each day during the following two periods: 10 Mar-30 Apr and 1 Aug-25 Sep – 52 days & 56 days = 108 days total. If the observer is located at a latitude greater than 35N (i.e., “North”) the observation periods are 1 Apr-10 Jun and 15 Jul-20 Aug – 71 days & 37 days = 108 days total.

The first period in the south covers the interval during which the overwintering monarchs arrive in Texas and Oklahoma and points to the east. We need to capture a better estimate of the number of monarchs in this region that arrive from Mexico each year. This starting number has not been captured effectively. The second interval in the south captures the arrival of pre-migration monarchs from the north as well as potential local reproduction during this time. In the north, the first interval will capture some of the returning monarchs early in that period but is more likely to chronicle the arrival of first generation monarchs migrating north to the summer breeding grounds. The second period in the north should capture the relative intensity of the reproductive activities of monarchs during the period in which most of the eggs are laid that become the adults that populate the migratory generation later in August and September.


Gypsy Moths

Here is a PDF of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s 2014 proposal for gypsy moth management in St. Louis County.
Proposal for Gypsy Moth Management St. Louis County MN

For more information, see their website at You can find additional information on their website at http://www.mda.state.mn.us/gypsymoth and our original post.