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Monarch Health is New Monarch Joint Venture Partner

Nov 20, 2013


  • MJV Partnership News

The MJV would like to extend a very warm welcome to our newest partner, Monarch Health. Monarch Health, based at the University of Georgia, is directed by Dr. Sonia Altizer who specializes in monarch parasites, Ophryocystis elektroscirrha (OE) in particular. Currently Altizer and students are working with the MJV to research the impacts of non-native milkweed on the prevalence of OE in monarchs. We are happy to support this research and excited about what Monarch Health will bring to the MJV partnership. Please welcome Monarch Health to the MJV and if you have any questions about their work, feel free to reach out to Dr. Sonia Altizer (

Project Monarch Health

Monarch Health is a citizen science project to track the prevalence of the protozoan parasite Ophryocystis elektroscirrha (OE) in monarch butterflies. OE can cause debilitating infections in monarchs, but does not affect humans. Infected monarchs often cannot fly as well or live as long as healthy monarchs, and some infected monarchs die while trying to emerge from their chrysalis. To check for OE, citizen scientists catch wild monarchs or rear monarch caterpillars to adult, and sample the scales on the adult abdomen using a small piece of tape. After releasing the butterflies unharmed, volunteers send their samples to the University of Georgia where Monarch Health will view the samples and report the presence of OE.

Monarch Health’s current collaboration with the MJV to better understand the impacts of tropical milkweed on the prevalence of OE in monarchs is well underway, but could use your help. They are in need of more volunteers in the southern U.S. and in California to sample monarchs found in non-native tropical milkweed patches. If you are interested in volunteering for this citizen science project, view the project website at: or email for more information!

Welcome to the MJV!