12 Jul '18, 1pm

Rising CO2 levels could upset the delicate relationship between the butterflies and their parasites.

The scientists found that under the futuristic CO2 conditions, all milkweed species showed dips in their concentrations of cardenolides, the steroid cocktails they produce for self-defense. But one species stood out. Monarch caterpillars that fed on Asclepias curassavica , or tropical milkweed, lost 77 percent of their tolerance to protozoan parasites. Without the normal dose of their milkweed medicine, the monarchs died a full week earlier than those that ingested tropical milkweed grown at today’s levels of CO2 . This is concerning, because of the species tested, tropical milkweed proved to be far and away the most medicinal of all the plants under the current CO

Full article: https://www.nrdc.org/onearth/monarchs-use-milkweed-preven...

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