UC Davis reported findings yesterday of a steep decline in butterfly populations due to the poor weather we had during spring this year. In fact, they said it’s going to be the worst year for California’s butterflies in nearly four decades.

Last spring millions of painted lady butterflies migrated through the Central Valley, but other species have had continually decreasing populations for years. UCD predicts that some will soon disappear from the region completely.

Art Shapiro, professor of evolution and ecology at UCD, said the weather has caused problems in many ways. In the south the weather has been very dry, leaving little food for the caterpillars of the painted lady. In the north the winter was not cold enough to signal the end of winter dormancy for most butterflies, meaning they did not emerge to take advantage of the warm weather in early February and those that did suffered from the downpours later in the spring.

Shapiro said his students have only spotted one painted lady in recent weeks, a time when most should be migrating north.

The poor season could have repercussions for up to a decade.

Super sad. I love seeing all of California’s butterflies each year. Now it could take a decade to bring them all back.

The only consolation was that it was mother nature and not humans who depleted their populations.

I’m still sad though.

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