Colonization and usage of eight milkweed (Asclepias) species by monarch butterflies and bees in urban garden settings

Colonization and usage of eight milkweed (Asclepias) species by monarch butterflies and bees in... Planting milkweeds on public and private lands has emerged as a central conservation strategy for restoring declining North American migratory populations of the monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus). Nearly all actionable science on this issue has focused on restoring common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca L.) in rural land types. The aim of this study was to develop recommendations for the best milkweeds for managed gardens intended to support both monarch butterflies and bees. Eight milkweed (Asclepias) species varying in height, form, and leaf shape were grown in a common-garden experiment at a public arboretum. We measured milkweed growth, tillering, and bloom periods, conducted bi-weekly counts of eggs and larvae to assess colonization by wild monarchs, and evaluated suitability for growth of monarch larvae. We also quantified bee visitation and compared the bee assemblages associated with six of the eight species, augmented with additional collections from other sites. Monarchs rapidly colonized the gardens, but did not equally use all of the milkweed species. More eggs and larvae were found on taller, broad-leaved milkweeds, but there was relatively little difference in larval performance, suggesting ovipositional preference for more apparent plants. Asclepias tuberosa and A. fascicularis attracted the greatest number of bees, whereas bee genus diversity was greatest on A. verticillata, A. fascicularis, and A. tuberosa. Milkweeds that do not spread extensively by tillering may be best suited for managed gardens. Combining milkweeds that are preferred by ovipositing monarchs with ones that are particularly attractive to bees may enhance conservation value of small urban gardens. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Insect Conservation Springer Journals

Colonization and usage of eight milkweed (Asclepias) species by monarch butterflies and bees in urban garden settings

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Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © 2018 by Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature
Subject
Life Sciences; Entomology; Conservation Biology/Ecology; Biodiversity; Animal Ecology; Life Sciences, general
ISSN
1366-638X
eISSN
1572-9753
D.O.I.
10.1007/s10841-018-0069-5
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Planting milkweeds on public and private lands has emerged as a central conservation strategy for restoring declining North American migratory populations of the monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus). Nearly all actionable science on this issue has focused on restoring common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca L.) in rural land types. The aim of this study was to develop recommendations for the best milkweeds for managed gardens intended to support both monarch butterflies and bees. Eight milkweed (Asclepias) species varying in height, form, and leaf shape were grown in a common-garden experiment at a public arboretum. We measured milkweed growth, tillering, and bloom periods, conducted bi-weekly counts of eggs and larvae to assess colonization by wild monarchs, and evaluated suitability for growth of monarch larvae. We also quantified bee visitation and compared the bee assemblages associated with six of the eight species, augmented with additional collections from other sites. Monarchs rapidly colonized the gardens, but did not equally use all of the milkweed species. More eggs and larvae were found on taller, broad-leaved milkweeds, but there was relatively little difference in larval performance, suggesting ovipositional preference for more apparent plants. Asclepias tuberosa and A. fascicularis attracted the greatest number of bees, whereas bee genus diversity was greatest on A. verticillata, A. fascicularis, and A. tuberosa. Milkweeds that do not spread extensively by tillering may be best suited for managed gardens. Combining milkweeds that are preferred by ovipositing monarchs with ones that are particularly attractive to bees may enhance conservation value of small urban gardens.

Journal

Journal of Insect ConservationSpringer Journals

Published: Jun 6, 2018

References

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