Why Should We Care About Monarch Butterflies?
Monarch butterflies are very important to care about because they provide many vital roles to the world that we live in. Three of these are described below: they help our fruits and vegetables grow, they help control the growth of milkweed plants, and they are significant to cultures.
Vital Role 1: They Help Our Fruits and Vegetables Grow.
If monarch butterflies help to grow our fruits and vegetables, then why is there a picture of a monarch butterfly on a flower like the one above? Well, like bees and butterflies, monarch butterflies are pollinators. As they move between different flowers to suck their sweet nectar from, they facilitate pollen exchange between different flowers, promoting pollination. Therefore, monarch butterflies help to promote and continue plant reproduction. For plants that produce fruits and vegetables that we consume in our everyday lives, this is especially significant, as monarch butterflies ensure that the continuous reproduction of these fruit-and-vegetable-bearing plants continues to contribute more fruits and vegetables for people to eat.
Vital Role 2: They Help Control the Growth of Poisonous Milkweed Plants.
Monarch butterfly larvae primarily consume milkweed, a weed with a white and poisonous sap. With the high metabolism of monarch caterpillars encouraging the massive consumption of milkweed plants, the growth of this dangerous weed can be kept in check. Therefore, the risks associated with populating milkweed can be controlled and reduced with monarch caterpillars eating it. This also reduces the application of even more toxic substances to milkweed plants - pesticides, particularly herbicides such as weed killers. With monarch caterpillars, a safer and mutual approach can be taken to kill milkweed as natural herbivores.
Vital Role 3: They are Significant to Cultures.
(Image source: https://www.nature.org/en-us/what-we-do/our-priorities/tackle-climate-change/climate-change-stories/monarch-butterflies-us-mexico.)
Monarch butterflies have a high cultural value to many different cultures, particularly the indigenous peoples of Mexico. Many of these people hold a rich variety of cultural traditions for monarch butterflies. For instance, they allude to these creatures in their traditional dances and songs. In addition, some cultures believe that they are the spirits of dead fighters and the spirits of ancestors. In addition, in Indiana, there is a special event that is full of art and education about monarch butterflies. It is hosted during September in the monarch migration season, named El Festival de la Monarca (The Nature Conservancy 2021).