A little more than a year ago when an article was published in the Smithsonian magazine featuring one of my photos made in Fayetteville, Arkansas, of the seed pod of the Asclepias viridis, also known as Antelope horns milkweed and Spider milkweed, concern was growing about the decline in numbers of monarch butterflies returning to the U.S. from deep in Mexico where they must migrate for winter and then return to mate and reproduce. This year, the number of returning monarchs is drastically lower still. Milkweed is available and such seed pods are opening in July 2013 in Northwest Arkansas. But few monarch caterpillars have been spotted on the milkweed plants waiting for them. The loss of habitat (certain trees in a certain area of Mexico) is even more drastic than the loss of milkweed in the U.S. Can't have monarchs without habitat throughout their range.
Photo in Smithsonian