Question and Answer

Is it beneficial for OE infected butterflies to live longer? And therefore present a greater risk for infecting other butterflies?

Feeding on highly toxic tropical milkweed allows monarch butterflies that are infected with OE to live longer lives, which is beneficial to the individual butterfly. However, this may not be beneficial from a population level perspective because those individuals may live longer, infecting their offspring and milkweeds, and thus, perpetuating the disease.

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