News -  Monarch migration has begun (109 views) Notify me whenever anyone posts in this discussion.Subscribe
 
From: The Moth (Cecropian)Sep-1 8:23 PM 
To: All  (1 of 11) 
 1911.1 

It's one of Mother Nature's most mystifying magic acts, and it's happening right now across Michigan. 

The fall migration of monarch butterflies is an annual event in which the brilliant fluttering insects travel thousands of miles south for the winter, following invisible "flyway" paths en route to their final destination, the Sierra Madre Mountains of Mexico. In Michigan, these flyways often hug the Great Lakes shorelines, where wind and certain weather can cause the globetrottin' butterflies to hunker down together as they wait for the next beneficial breeze to carry them on their way. 

And when the monarchs congregate like this -- roosting sometimes in the thousands, draping treetops in quilted cloaks of orange-and-black wings -- it is truly a spectacle to behold. 

"It's an incredible sight to see thousands of butterflies in one location," said Micah Jordan, park supervisor at Tawas Point State Park in East Tawas, Mich., noting that this year has been particularly spectacular. 

"There is an excessive number of butterflies this year," he said. "It's really beautiful."

https://www.mlive.com/expo/life-and-culture/erry-2018/08/ac78504cbf5497/monarch-migration-has-begun-in.html

 

 
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From: MerlinsDad Posted by hostSep-1 10:35 PM 
To: The Moth (Cecropian)  (2 of 11) 
 1911.2 in reply to 1911.1 

Wow!  What a spectacular.  Glad to hear him say "There is an excessive number of butterflies this year," he said. "It's really beautiful."  I hope that's a good sign that monarch populations are reviving.

 

 
From: The Moth (Cecropian)Sep-1 11:23 PM 
To: MerlinsDad  (3 of 11) 
 1911.3 in reply to 1911.2 

MerlinsDad said...

Glad to hear him say "There is an excessive number of butterflies this year," he said. "It's really beautiful."  I hope that's a good sign that monarch populations are reviving.

I also particularly noted that he said this.  As a longtime Monarch watcher, this corresponds to my observation that this has been a particularly good year for the Monarch butterflies.  Populations are still way down from what they used to be.  But this is an encouraging sign.

 

 

 
From: MerlinsDad Posted by hostSep-2 6:38 AM 
To: The Moth (Cecropian)  (4 of 11) 
 1911.4 in reply to 1911.3 

I'm glad you too are seeing more than usual.  Of course, I am not on one of the prime migratory routes, so I've seen the usual 2 or 3.  Seeing more than 1 at a time would be a thrill.

 

 
From: niteowl410Sep-2 8:23 AM 
To: The Moth (Cecropian)  (5 of 11) 
 1911.5 in reply to 1911.1 

That is a beautiful sight. Do they have flyways like birds do? 

 

 
From: The Moth (Cecropian)Sep-2 3:19 PM 
To: niteowl410  (6 of 11) 
 1911.6 in reply to 1911.5 

niteowl410 said...

Do they have flyways like birds do? 

Very similar to birds.  They follow loosely defined flyways but unlike birds, they don't flock.  You'll never see a cloud of Monarchs pass by.  Each individual butterfly is hard wired with a GPS with directions to Mexico, even though they have never been there before.  This is the only generation that lives as long and flies as far.

 

 

 
From: niteowl410Sep-2 3:35 PM 
To: The Moth (Cecropian)  (7 of 11) 
 1911.7 in reply to 1911.6 

I thought they went south and were dormant for awhile and then came back in the spring to lay eggs and then died.

 

 
From: The Moth (Cecropian)Sep-2 4:34 PM 
To: niteowl410  (8 of 11) 
 1911.8 in reply to 1911.7 

The generation that overwinters in Mexico becomes sexually mature when the weather warms up and then they lay eggs.  But they don't get very far and then they die.  The new generation that hatches will then continue the northward migration.  They will lay eggs and then die after a couple weeks.  The next generation will then continue the northward migration.  It may take several generations for them to get this far north.  The last generation does not become sexually mature until after they migrate to and spend the winter in Mexico.  And then the whole thing starts over again.  It's miraculous.

 

  • Edited September 2, 2018 8:18 pm  by  The Moth (Cecropian)
 

 
From: niteowl410Sep-2 8:12 PM 
To: The Moth (Cecropian)  (9 of 11) 
 1911.9 in reply to 1911.8 

It is really a miraculous cycle. When I was in Phoenix a few years ago my sister and I went to Butterfly Wonderland and saw a documentary on the Monarch migration. It was fascinating. I hope now I can remember it. 

 

 
From: The Moth (Cecropian)Sep-2 8:25 PM 
To: niteowl410  (10 of 11) 
 1911.10 in reply to 1911.9 

There is another Monarch population that lives west of the Rockies.  They migrate to the California coast where they spend the winter.  I think the two populations are completely separate and never interact.  So eventually they could become two different species.

 

 

 
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