Dr. Anurag Agrawal, professor of biology and entomology at Cornell University, will talk about monarch butterflies, known for their bright colors and epic annual migration from the United States and Canada to Mexico. Yet there is much more to the monarch than its distinctive presence and mythic journeying.
In his new book, Monarchs and Milkweed, Dr. Agrawal investigates how the monarch butterfly 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.
Agrawal will also present current ideas regarding the recent decline in monarch populations, including habitat destruction, increased winter storms, and lack of milkweed—the last one a theory that the author rejects. He evaluates the current sustainability of monarchs and reveals a novel explanation for their plummeting numbers.
No science background required!