Skip to main content

With a decade of drastic decline, Minnesota monarchs now rare

  • Author:
  • Updated:

The monarch, the official butterfly of the state of Minnesota, once a common colorful sight across the state, has all but vanished.

No one is saying "extinct," but as Minnesota Public Radio reports, the peak season for the monarch is right now, and good luck going out and finding one.

A generation of Monarchs may have been lost, one expert tells MPR.

The Minnesota monarch has a history of migration between here and Mexico, and the Associated Press reports – by noting that the Minnesota monarch "is in trouble" – the number of monarchs wintering in Mexico City was the lowest number recorded since records began 20 years ago.

Shocking statistic: Researchers estimate the Mexico winter population was 60 million, down from 350 million the year before, MPR reports. That's 290 million monarchs vanished.

Six of the last seven years have shown drops, and there are now only one-fifteenth as many butterflies as there were in 1997, the AP reports: "The decline now marks a statistical long-term trend and can no longer be seen as a combination of yearly or seasonal events."

What gives?

Well, logging, agricultural changes and pesticides are seen as culprits, says the AP, but that alone doesn't necessarily explain the long-term shift.

MPR notes further extreme weather in southern states this year might have contributed to the kill-off, and also suggests suburban sprawl may contribute.

Next Up


How the fastest animal on the planet returned to MN after local extinction

The fastest animal on Earth had once vanished from Minnesota and Wisconsin.


St. Paul's new 'skate trail' brings non-traditional park to life

Gateway Park is the first of four parks to open in the Highland Bridge redevelopment.


80 mph winds, large hail possible with severe storms in MN

A severe thunderstorm watch is in effect for much of the state until 3 a.m. Saturday.


30 people evacuated as flooding hammers small town

It's assumed that at least eight inches of rain fell in Randall, with more heavy rain expected Friday night into Saturday morning.

Intersection in Rochester.

Boy dies in motorcycle crash in Rochester

Police are investigating as of Friday afternoon.

Tab2FileL (13)

Numerous severe storms likely in Minnesota Friday night

Watch the video for the full details with meteorologist Sven Sundgaard.

court room

Teen pleads guilty in shooting death of 15-year-old girl in Columbia Heights

Damico Jamal-Tokyo High will receive a sentence in juvenile court, along with an adult prison sentence.

Screen Shot 2022-04-25 at 11.00.01 AM

Walz wants to use surplus money to send direct payments to Minnesotans

It's a renewed effort from a previous proposal from Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan's supplemental budget in January.

Ron Johnson

Jan. 6 committee says aide for WI senator tried to give fake elector info to Pence

The attempt was discovered through text messages in the ongoing public hearing held by the Jan. 6 select committee.

Stock U of M sign

Minnesota State colleges, U of M boosting tuition again

The Minnesota State system's Board of Trustee's approved the increase Wednesday.


Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Friday, June 24

The next daily update will be provided Monday, June 27.


Drought tough on Minnesota monarch butterflies

There's fewer monarch butterflies in the state this year, in large part because drought has hurt the milkweed plant, which monarch caterpillars feast on in the spring.