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Monarch Larva Monitoring Project

Main Project Information
Presented By University of Minnesota
Goal Help scientists understand why monarch populations vary.
Task Monitor patch of milkweed or upload anecdotal observations.
Where Monarch Larva Monitoring Project
North America

The Monarch Larva Monitoring Project enlists citizen scientists to collect long-term data on larval monarch populations and milkweed habitat.

Developed by researchers at the University of Minnesota, the project aims to better understand how and why monarch populations vary in time and space, with a focus on monarch distribution and abundance during the breeding season in North America.

As a volunteer, you can participate in two ways: You can commit to regularly monitoring a specific patch of milkweed or you can submit anecdotal observations. If you commit to regular monitoring, you'll conduct weekly monarch and milkweed surveys, measuring per plant densities of monarch eggs and larvae. You'll also be able to participate in more detailed optional activities, such as measuring parasitism rates and milkweed quality. Your contributions will aid in conserving monarchs and their threatened migratory phenomenon, and will advance our understanding of butterfly ecology in general.

In addition to contributing to an understanding of monarch biology, you'll gain hands-on experience in scientific research. Through this experience, we hope that your appreciation and understanding of monarchs, monarch habitat, and the scientific process are enhanced.

As seen in Chapter 3 of Citizen Science by Caren Cooper.

How to Join

To review your options for participation and to sign up, please visit

Project Timing During milkweed and nectar-plant growing season for the participant's location.
Social Media
Ideal Age Group Elementary school (6 - 10 years), Middle school (11 - 13 years), High school (14 - 17 years), College, Graduate students, Adults, Families, Seniors
Ideal Frequency Per week
Average Time Less than an hour
Spend the Time outdoors
Type of Activity At home, At the beach, At school, At a science center, zoo or aquarium, In snow or rain
Training Materials
Class Materials
Tags butterfly, conservation, girl scouts, larva, migration, mlmp, monarch, monarch butterfly, monitoring
Project Updated 01/30/2018