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Insects, Volume 10, Issue 9 (September 2019)
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Cover Story (view full-size image) Monarch butterflies have suffered a serious population decline in North America since the 1990s. [...] Read more. Monarch butterflies have suffered a serious population decline in North America since the 1990s. The reasons for this decline are unclear, but the introduction and expanding use of neonicotinoid insecticides during the same time-frame has been suggested as a possible factor. Neonicotinoids have multiple sublethal deleterious impacts on bee populations, but limited work has been done on the impact of these insecticides on other pollinators, including butterflies. Incorporation of highly systemic, mobile, and long-lived neonicotinoids at biologically-active levels in nectar and pollen is potentially damaging to all pollinators. The discovery here that the longevity of monarch butterflies can be considerably shortened by ingestion of field-realistic levels of a widely-used neonicotinoid raises serious concerns about the broad-scale impact of these chemicals on monarchs and other butterflies. View this paper