Gallery: Southern Species of US Butterflies are Moving North as Climate...


Between droughts, super storms and wildfires, it’s easy to overlook some of the smaller, more subtle effects of climate change. As the planet warms, populations of plants and animals shift, adjusting their territories to deal with new conditions. A paper published last year in Nature Climate Change reported on the movement of southern butterfly species in the US. Many are packing up and moving north, establishing themselves in new sites. Subtropical and warm climate butterflies have shown the greatest movement. While southern pollinators are traveling towards states like Massachusetts, more than 75 percent of northern species have shown a decline in population, with those that overwinter eggs and larvae showing the fastest reduction in numbers. This is most likely due to the presence of drought and lack of snow cover resulting from global warming.

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