A 37-year survey of monarch populations in North Central Florida shows that caterpillars and butterflies have been declining since 1985 and have dropped by 80 percent since 2005. This decrease parallels monarchs' dwindling numbers in their overwintering grounds in Mexico. While the drivers of the decline are not clear, the researchers said shrinking native milkweed populations and a boost in glyphosate use in the Midwest are part of the problem. Monarch caterpillars hang in the shape of a "j" just before beginning metamorphosis. Only about 2 percent of monarch eggs survive to this stage of growth.
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