RUSH MILKWEED (ASCLEPIAS SUBULATA) INSET DIVERSITY IN SOUTHWEST ARIZONA

picture of Lucio Sanchez presenting his/her poster: RUSH MILKWEED (ASCLEPIAS SUBULATA) INSET DIVERSITY IN SOUTHWEST ARIZONA

Lucio Sanchez , Ana Espinosa, Armando Gutierrez, Laura Eldrige

RUSH MILKWEED (ASCLEPIAS SUBULATA) INSET DIVERSITY IN SOUTHWEST ARIZONA

The monarch butterfly (Danaus Plexipus) is well known for its 3,000 mile migratory life cycle and its reliance on its host plant, milkweed (Asclepias spp.) (Mader et al., 2011). As habitat loss increases within the monarch’s flight path, diversity of other insects is also suspected to decline. However, research on the diversity of species that also use milkweed is currently lacking. Our research documents the diversity and abundance of insects that use rush milkweed (A. subulata) in SW Arizona. Currently, AWC is growing 2,000 A. subulata for habitat restoration through a Xerces Society grant. We will be sampling insects from this restoration population and a native population west of Yuma. Insect diversity and abundance will be calculated using various sampling techniques and compared across sites. We predict to find a high diversity of Lepidopteran and Hymenopteran insects because A. subulata is not successful at self-pollination (Wyatt et al., 1996).

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