A new study published in Science shows that butterfly populations are in trouble due to climate change. The study found that butterfly populations in the Western United States are declining by two percent annually.

Source: CBS 8 San Diego/YouTube

Temperature fluctuations are dangerous to the species, as warmer temperatures continue into the fall. This dries out vegetation and disrupts seasonal cycles that butterflies use to prepare for the colder months.

“The influence of climate change is driving those declines, which makes sense because they’re so widespread,” said Matt Forister, a biology professor at the University of Nevada at Reno and co-author in The Washington Post, “It has to be something geographically pervasive.”

Roadways, farms, pesticides, and habitat destruction all play a role in reducing butterfly populations. Like bees, butterflies play a role in crop pollination and are essential parts of many ecosystems. Forister told KNAU that insects are “part of the glue that holds ecosystems together.”

Learn more about climate change affecting animal life, including acidification harming Dungeness crabs,  the mystery of dead birds across Alaska, turtles in Cape Cod Bay, lobsters off the coast of New England and whales in the Gulf of Maine.

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