Course Introduction from Rose Franklin
We ship thousands of Monarch eggs and caterpillars to customers who raise and release them. Most of our customers are citizen scientists and school teachers who are teaching the process of metamorphosis to their students. Most of these people have never heard of OE Some have heard of it but don't really understand what it is. A few, very few, know what OE is, have microscopes, and periodically screen their Monarchs for OE upon emergence from their pupae.
I, myself, have known about OE for about 15 years but I couldn't say I understood it well enough to know what is actually inside those OE spores I have seen under a microscope. I've often wondered about that though, and I've wondered if other people might wonder about that too.
When I set out to create a slide presentation on OE for my customers, I vowed to dig deep—deep enough that I would be able to explain OE, not just OE spores but OE, those microscopic one-celled organisms that live inside the spores. So I dug deep and I came to understand OE in a different way than I've ever understood it before. As you proceed from slide to slide in this presentation, I hope you too will learn something about OE that you did not know before.
Please remember as you page thru the presentation that my intended audience is citizen scientists and school teachers, not professional butterfly breeders. You'll notice I don't even mention the idea of sanitizing Monarch eggs. Professional butterfly breeders would be wise to sanitize their eggs, but I feared my customers might destroy their eggs in attempting to sanitize them. And since I know my breeding stock is OE-free (every Monarch is screened for OE before going into the flight room), and my milkweed plants are OE-free (they are sanitized before going into the flight room), I feel assured the eggs and caterpillars I ship to my customers are also OE-free also. If the adult Monarchs prove to have OE, I feel pretty sure they became infected after leaving our facility.
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