Monarch Butterfly Migration

The blog post of the week was written by Monthly Blog Correspondent, Lakin P, a Ursids alumni. She informs us about some small, colorful insects. Monarch Butterflies are unique in the fact that they migrate across such a large distance. Lakin also raises an issue that may affect future generations of Monarch Butterflies.

Lakin P.

Monarch butterflies aren’t able to handle the cold so they migrate. Migration is the seasonal movement of animals from one region to another. The migration of the butterflies usually start there migration in October. They can start sooner, but it all depends on the weather in that specific region.

The monarch butterflies are found in Mexico and Southern California. Monarch butterflies are the only insect that migrates to warmer weather. The trip is about 2,500 miles every year. A very cool fact is that when the monarch butterfly migrates, it will migrate to the same type of tree. If they migrate to Mexico they will usually be found in Oyamel fir trees. If they migrate to Southern California, then they will usually be found in eucalyptus trees. They will also use the same tree every year they migrate.

Monarch butterflies have to precisely time their spring trip. If they leave to soon, it may still be too cold. They will need more food, the fat they stored in the winter months is almost gone. As the temperature rises they burn the fat faster. Mexico and California are already hot area, but are losing more water as the temperature rises. That is horrible for monarch butterflies. Also, as the temperature rises on the way back they only have a short amount of time to mate. Their food source will be back, so they must go home. The spring equinox is the trigger to spring migration for the monarch butterflies. Look for them this spring!