Mona Miller wrote: Releasing a bunch of caterpillars out in the wild, coming back to find adults without OE.
The adults I found were newly emerged adults. I knew the date I had released the caterpillars so I knew the date the adults would be emerging. There were no wild caterpillars to be found that year because the wild populations were low, so there was no need for a "control".
I did not even know these newly emerged adults had no OE until after I shipped them to a commercial breeder here in California who had a microscope and was experienced in doing spore counts. And this breeder actually USED these butterflies successfully for breeding stock.
I did not inform this breeder that these OE free butterflies were actually derived from hundreds of caterpillars I reared during the 1st-4th instars in extremely crowded, filthy conditions where the caterpillars consumed dozens, if not hundreds of spores. I told her this only AFTER she had successfully used the adults as breeding stock. She was pissed to learn I had given her breeding stock with such horrible background, but the experience taught her and me that caterpillars that consume
spores don't necessarily develop into adult butterflies that have alot of spores.
Sonia Altizer and the other OE scientists havn't ever conducted actual field trial experiments like this.
Citizen scientists seem to always be the ones who make the major Monarch discoveries; e.g. that monarchs breed WITHIN the Rocky Mountains, that milkweed grows up to 10,600 feet, that monarchs can fly NORTHWEST in the autumn, that some western monarchs migrate to central Mexico for the winter and so forth.