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Canadians hoping to catch a glimpse of monarch butterflies this spring will have to look a little harder because a harsh, late winter storm in Mexico may have wiped out up to 50 per cent of the butterfly's population.
Rain, sleet and snow ravaged over-wintering colonies in Mexico on March 8 and 9, leaving butterflies frozen to trees and dead on the ground.
Lingering effects of the storm aren't yet known for sure, but experts are preparing for plummeting numbers.
"Right now, it certainly looks like it's going to be a much lower population. It doesn't look particularly good," warned Chip Taylor, a professor in the department of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Kansas and founder and director of Monarch Watch.
Monarch Watch described the storm that affected nine colonies in Mexico as "unprecedented."