Saint Hyacinvthe. Hunt on for monarch butterfly eggs in the gardens of Canada. When Canadian conservation enthusiasts head out to find monarch eggs, it’s always with a magnifying glass and a notebook.

They are volunteers taking part in a summer census of the iconic, endangered butterflies.

July and August are the best months, when the monarch is visible in Canada at all stages of development: eggs, caterpillar, chrysalis and adult butterfly.

It is also reproduction period for the generation which will take off in a few weeks for a 4000 kilometer journey to Mexico.

But it’s complicated research. “The monarch lays one egg per leaf. There are insects which can lay a dozen eggs all together while the monarch lays one. So we are looking for something very small,” explains Jacques Kerouac, who is among the hundreds of people who take part in the citizen science program Mission Monarch.

The eggs of these creatures known for their striking orange and black colors are off white or yellow and about the size of a pinhead, with ridges that run from the tip to the base.

The specie’s dire situation led to the creation five years ago of this program set up by the Montreal Insectarium to document monarch breeding grounds. The data is used by researchers, in particular to determine zones in need of protection. There are similar programs in the United States.

Monarchs of the eastern side of the continent are in a difficult position: their population has decreased by more than 80 percent in two decades. (AFP)


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