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William and Mary researchers study milkweed to help save monarch butterfly

William and Mary researchers study milkweed to help save monarch butterfly

The monarch butterfly — perhaps the most recognizable of its kind — is fast disappearing, with population declines of up to 90 percent documented over the last decade. The most likely culprit? It's not disturbances in the monarch's overwintering sites in central Mexico or extreme weather events. Instead, research suggests it's because the lowly plant that serves as its key habitat — the common milkweed — is being mowed down, plowed under and poisoned with abandon. To help stem the monarch's rapid slide toward extinction and possibly even reverse it, two biologists at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg embarked this year on a...

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