Monarch butterflies are one of nature’s most recognizable and charismatic creatures, known for their bright colors and epic annual migrations between the Canada, the United States and Mexico. But there is much more to the monarch than its bold orange beauty and powerful, graceful flights. In his book, “Monarchs and Milkweeds: A Migrating Butterfly, a Poisonous Plant, and Their Remarkable Story of Coevolution,” Anurag Agrawal presents a vivid investigation into how the monarch has evolved closely alongside the milkweed—a toxic plant named for the sticky white substance emitted when its leaves are damaged—and how this inextricable and intimate relationship has been like an arms race over the millennia, a battle of exploitation and defense between two fascinating species.
About the Presentation
The monarch life cycle begins each spring when it deposits eggs on milkweed leaves; but this dependency of this butterfly species on milkweeds as food is not reciprocated by the poisonous plant. Agrawal delves into major scientific discoveries, including his own pioneering research, and traces how plant poisons have not only shaped monarch-milkweed interactions, but have also been culturally important for centuries. He will discuss current ideas regarding the recent decline in monarch populations and offer a novel explanation for their plummeting numbers.
The presentation will be followed by a book signing with Anurag Agrawal in the Wildflower Center Store. Copies of the book will be available for purchase.
This event is free with admission.
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