Monday, July 13, 2009


Do you have monarchs near your home or garden? Then please consider participating in Project MonarchHealth! Project MonarchHealth surveys monarch butterflies for infection by the protozoan parasite Ophryocystis elektroscirrha (OE). This parasite is not harmful to humans; however, it can affect monarchs by lowering butterfly survival in the wild. (Right photo: Gently rubbing abdomen of Monarch with cotton swab)

Data from volunteer observers across North America will help scientists determine whether infections are on the rise and where most infected monarchs come from each year.The survey is easy to do, participation is free, and we send you the sampling materials and instructions in a participation kit! All you need are wild butterflies from your sampling location. The testing
process does not injure the butterfly, and we will send you a report with infection results from butterflies you sample.

(Left Photo: Me releasing Monarch after OE test at Waystation No. 613) Anyone interested in monarch butterflies can participate. MonarchHealth is conducted by people of all skills, ages, and backgrounds including families, retired persons, classrooms, monarch organizations, nature centers, and individuals. To sign up for a free sampling kit and learn more about the project, visit: or email us at

(ight photo: My OE testing kit sent to me from Sonia Altizer & Samantha Burton at Monarch Health)

Note: We recommend that you request a kit at least 2-3 weeks before you plan to begin to sampling.Monarch Health--

Sonia Altizer and Samantha Burton
Institute of EcologyUniversity of Georgia
Athens, GA 30602

Phone: (706) 542-3485

Neat video on how to test for OE parasite on
a Monarch butterfly