Scientists want you to mail dead butterflies for research if you live in these states

The US Geological Survey (USGS) is asking residents in six states to mail in dead butterflies, moths, and skippers for a project studying potential causes of declining insect populations.

The initiative: This “citizen science” initiative is occurring in Alabama, Georgia, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas, chosen for their relevance to monarch butterfly migration paths, extensive use of pesticides, or presence of large industrial farms.
* The program, which began in April, will run until November, but could be extended into 2024 depending on the volume of specimens received.

Submission process: Insects submitted must be larger than two inches wide, not under state or federal protection (with the Mitchell’s satyr butterfly in Alabama being the only protected species), and ideally shipped within three days of collection.
* They should be placed in a resealable plastic bag, sealed in an envelope, and mailed or personally delivered to: USGS LRC, 1217 Biltmore Drive, Lawrence, KS 66049.
* Damaged insects can also be submitted.

The why: The project aims to test if contaminants are a factor in the decline of insect populations.
* Project lead, USGS scientist Julie Dietze, anticipates the collected specimens will provide valuable data for current and future research.

The state of play: Insect populations have been facing a decline due to several factors including climate change, habitat loss, and pesticide use.
* The iconic monarch butterfly was listed as endangered last year by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
* Insects play essential roles in the environment including waste decomposition, pollination, and forming the base of many food chains.

View original article on NPR

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