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We’re Moving! The Monarch Butterfly Migration

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There’s a beautiful event coming this winter which everyone should be on the lookout for! To all you nature lovers and photographers out there, go and get your cameras ready—you’ll want to get a few shots of  one of the most spectacular natural phenomenon in the world!

You better book a ticket to United States right now if you want to see this for yourself as the Monarch Butterfly’s population is dwindling down. In 2013, the population was recorded at its lowest in 20 years. It is speculated that one of the reasons why the numbers are going down is due to the reduced growth of milkweed in North America. These butterflies rely on milkweed as their habitat and their food. One reason for the reduced growth is due to climate change and the escalated use of herbicides.

For sure you wouldn’t want to use pest control on these beautiful flying wonders. Rest assured, you will definitely enjoy witnessing this annual occasion.

The Migration Pattern

A migration this vast is more likely to be seen in birds, crabs or whales rather than insects, proving yet again that the monarch butterfly’s migration is truly one of a kind. No other butterfly species is known to travel such a long distance. Their migration is often called the most evolved migration pattern of the order Lepidoptera or any insect for that matter. They do not travel alone but travel in masses, sometimes numbering in thousands. Just imagine— a swarm of butterflies flying over your heads! There are other butterflies and moths flying far in groups but this is a one-way trip to seek food and the behavioral trait for insects is called emigration.

The Season

The migration  of the Monarch butterflies occurs in September and October. This is most likely due to the butterflies not being able to withstand cold and freezing winter in the northern portions  of the United States.  Add to that are the larval food plants not being able to survive in winter season. And with  -ber months around, you can expect these butterflies flying away to a warm and more accommodating areas,Mexico and Southern California, where there are bound to have plants aplenty.

The Distance

It is actually amazing how the journey of the migration starts and how the monarchs flew from North America to the forests of Mexico and Southern California. If you consider the distance,that is over two thousand miles worth of travel by air these delicate winged-creatures will storm the weather to get from point A to point B. If that is not astonishing enough, they fly without properly knowing the specific location and relying only on pure instinct! It’s one of nature’s unsolved mysteries yet to be discovered as to how these Monarch butterflies find their way to and fro.

The Return

Of course all great things must come to an end and eventually, some of the Monarch butterflies will fly back to the northern  US. They will only return once the warm temperature and lengthening days arrive.  This is a signal to the butterflies that it is the breeding season. The female monarchs’ responsibility is to lay eggs for the next generation of migratory butterflies. These Monarch butterflies will venture back in March and the estimated arrival will be around July.

The migration of these beautiful Monarch Butterflies  is considered to be in the top ten of the most amazing migration in the planet and after seeing all the effort they all take to travel; it shouldn’t be no surprise at all!

 


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