Monarch Butterflies as Pollinators

"More than beautiful, monarch butterflies contribute to the health of our planet. While feeding on nectar, they pollinate many types of wildflowers.--National Park Service.

Have you ever seen pollen on a monarch butterfly?

This morning a male migrating monarch, probably on its way to coastal California to an overwintering site, stopped at a Vacaville garden to sip some nectar on a Mexican sunflower (Tithonia rotundifola). 

If you look closely, you can see the gold pollen.

Monarchs are not just iconic species facing a population decline, they're pollinators. 

"Pollinator species, such as bees, other insects, birds and bats play a critical role in producing more than 100 crops grown in the United States," according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. "Honey bee pollination alone adds more than $18 billion in value to agricultural crops annually."