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Butterflies are one of the most loved and admired of all groups of insects, as much for their attractive patterning as for the amazing transformations that take place during their life cycles. They are well known both as adults and as caterpillars, the latter above all because of the damage they can do to certain crops.

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State researchers say the Monarch butterfly population is at its fourth highest level since as migration peaks in Illinois.

Daily Herald file photo, If you've noticed more Monarch butterflies than normal migrating through your suburban backyards, you're not alone. The iconic insects known for their bold orange and black wings are being observed in Illinois at some of the highest levels of the past 25 years as they migrate south for the winter. Preliminary data collected by the Illinois Butterfly Monitoring Network shows Monarch butterfly population is at the fourth highest level since The answer is difficult to pinpoint, Taron says.

Various factors affect the species' health, including weather, parasites and disease. Unfortunately, the data from a single year does not indicate a long-term upswing for the Monarch butterfly, which suffered an 88 percent decline in North America from throughaccording to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. In Illinois, the overall population trend has neither increased nor decreased during the past several years, Taron said.

Migrating monarchs will peak in the Chicago area sometime during the next couple of weeks, experts say. After that, their s will decrease as more and more head toward their final destination in Mexico. We're continuing to learn so much about it.

Here are a few ways to make your backyard and garden more attractive to Monarch butterflies:. Five varieties are easy to find: common, swamp, butterfly, horsetail and poke.

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Monarch butterflies reach highest levels of past 25 years, experts say. Chacour Koop.

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Butterflies of different sizes, shapes and colours are welcome company on walks for much of the year. spring, summer and autumn are excellent times for fully appreciating the charms of the island’s butterflies.

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