Butterfly Research

The Association for Butterflies is dedicated to butterfly research.  Written in the bylaws is a designation for 30%–40% of income (after administrative expenses) to be used for research.

From disease to migration, shipping to artificial diet, we invite suggestions for research projects.

Two shipments of Monarchs with microsporidia (suspected nosema)
were donated by a member of For Butterflies for a study.

Microsporidia from these butterflies were studied at:

  • Insect Pathology, Illinois Natural History Survey, Urbana, IL
  • CT Agric. Experiment Station
  • A research facility in the Czech Republic
  • A graduate student of Dr. Chip Taylor, University of Kansas, traveled to study them in the IL facility
  • Also expressing interest to Leellen Solter, who received the butterflies, is Dr. Frank Davis (Mississippi State University).

Packing Butterflies

Which is the best insulated box and ice pack to keep butterflies cool and safe during shipment?
AFB performed tests to determine the answer to this question.
All aspects of these experiments are photographed, logged, and posted openly on this website.
Results from these tests will be posted on the association website.

Have you ever wondered how long to soak your eggs? What strength of chemical/cleanser to use and how long should they be soaked? How about what solution you should use?  Do you wonder if you are using the best method to wash your eggs?
In the fall 2013, AFB will conduct experiments with wash solutions on heavily contaminated OE Monarch eggs.  If you have any questions about sterilizing eggs, please send your question(s) for inclusion into the tests.


Monarch Health
Project Monarch Health is a citizen-science survey of the occurrence of the protozoan parasite Ophryocystis elektroscirrha (OE), which parasitizes monarch butterflies.

Southwest Monarch Study
The Southwest Monarch Study is studying the migration patterns of Monarch Butterflies in Arizona. It is well accepted that Monarch Butterflies East of the Rocky Mountains travel to the mountains near Mexico City during the winter. Monarchs West of the Rockies migrate to the coast of California. Since Arizona is South of the Rocky Mountains, where do monarch butterflies go?

Monarch Lab
Karen Oberhauser, Director of Monarchs in the Classroom Program, has been studying monarch butterflies since 1984.  She works with teachers and pre-college students in Minnesota and throughout the United States using monarchs to teach biology, conservation, and the process of science.

Monarch Watch
Monarch Watch is an educational outreach program based at the University of Kansas that engages citizen scientists in large-scale research projects. Monarch Watch gets children of all ages involved in science. Our website provides a wealth of information on the biology and conservation of Monarch butterflies and many children use it as a resource for science fair projects or reports.

If you would like to submit information gained from research at your facility for this site, please click HERE to contact us.