Jim Gilbert
Monarch
Butterfly Monarch Butterfly
  • Symbolic Migration
  • Challenge Questions
  • Monarch Field Data
  • Journey North News
  • Ask the Expert
  • Related Resources

    Today's
News
    Today's News

    Migrations and Signs of Spring
    Migrations and
    Signs of Spring

    Report Your
Sightings
    Report Your Sightings

    Teacher Discussion
    Teacher Discussion

    Search Journey North
    Search Journey North

    return to:
    JNorth Home Page

    A/CPB Home A/CPB


  • Students Answer Monarch Butterfly Challenge Question #4

    "How do you think monarchs know when it's time to leave Mexico? (That is, how do you think the butterflies 'tell time'?)"

    From: MINNESOTA
    We think the butterflies are born knowing the way to migrate back North that is an instinct they have. We also think that certain conditions in the trees or certain temperatures let them know it is time to leave.
    The 2nd, 3rd and 4th graders at the St. Paul Family Learning Center St. Paul, Minnesota
    Sue Leither (Sue@DesignLearn.com)

    From: NEBRASKA
    We think that when the days get warmer and longer the butterflies will feel like mating. Once they have mated they will want to come back north to lay eggs. Then they die after they've laid their eggs.Then the cycle begins all over again. Next year they will be migrating back to Mexico.

    The weather is getting warmer and the sun is out longer, so the days are longer. The flowers start blooming. The monarchs have instincts to leave Mexico and start flying north. The females are mating, then are looking for milkweed. Since they can't fly in cold weather, they must wait until the weather is warmer. They left in the fall because northern winters are too cold. Mrs. Siefert's 4th/5th grade class
    Mrs. Thornton's science class
    Fredstrom Elementary School
    Lincoln, NE
    Someone (someone@lps.esu18.k12.ne.us)

    From: WEST VIRGINIA
    Dear Journey North,
    We think the answer to Challenge Question #4 is that they use their instincts. They can tell by the light and the heat of the day that it is time to go. Then their instincts will guide them where they need to go. We are third graders in Mr. Phillips's class at Kanawha Elementary School in Davisville, West Virginia working on our monarch butterfly project. Your friends,
    Carl Jordan Matthew Jones
    Philip Edison Morris Mitchell James Williams
    Jay S. Phillips
    jsphilli@p34.s212.c96.k12.wv.us

    From: PENNSYLVANIA
    We think the monarchs know when it is time to leave Mexico by the length of daylight. They can determine when to start migrating north by the photoperiod. As the days get longer, they realize it is time to leave. They also know when to leave by the temperature. As the temperature rises for several consecutive days, they know it is time to migrate. Donna Wimmer
    Sellersville, PA 18960
    dwimmer@mciunix.mciu.k12.pa.us

    From: ONTARIO
    The butterflies know when to leave Mexico because the days are getting longer and the temperatures are changing.Send the sun up here to melt the snow so that the milkweeds can start growing.
    H.W. Knight P.S, Grade 5/6, Cannington, Ontario
    Julia Plewes (juliplew@netrover.com)

    From: INDIANA
    Monarchs know when it is time to leave Mexico, because the temperature gets warmer. Since monarchs are cold-blooded animals, they are sensitive temperature. They know when it is getting warmer. Mrs. Flatter's Fifth Grade L.E.A.P. Class
    Selma Elementary School
    Selma, Indiana
    KKFLATTS@aol.com

    From: OHIO
    The monarchs know when to leave Mexico when the temperatures get warmer. Also, it might be instinct. The butterflies are born knowing where to go when.
    Chuck Carroll (aa282@seorf.ohiou.edu)

    From: NEW YORK
    Dear JN,
    I think that the Monarchs leave when the length of daylight is right. Katie Anderson, Grade 4, East Moriches, NY.
    Bob Anderson (banderson@hamptons.com)

    From: CALIFORNIA
    We think monarchs know when to leave Mexico when they finish laying their eggs. They might also leave when the weather gets hot. It takes a certain time to lay eggs, it is probably a natural instinct that they know to leave after mating. Thats what we think about how they know when to leave Mexico. Our names are Carlie, Karisa, Bryon, and Steven. We are from Mariposa, Ca. We are in Mrs. Ubner's fifth grade class.
    mes (mes@yosemite.net)

    From: KANSAS
    Because the humidity and temperture is getting to high
    Alex, Joseph, Michael
    THEY REACT DIFFERENTLY TOWARD THE SPRING SEASON AND THEIR BODY TEMPERATURES ARE CHANGING.
    Then they have thier babies, and it starts getting warmer then they know when to come back.
    David Cox (dacox@KCKPS.K12.KS.US)

    From: MASSACHUSETTS
    They use the sun:when the sun comes up or goes down BY Rosie@Sunderland Elementary School, Sunderland, MA When the sun gets very,very hot the Monarchs leave Mexico. BY Tyler@Sunderland Elementary, Sunderland, MA I think they know when to leave because they see all of the tourists leave. BY Taylor@Sunderland Elementary, Sunderland, MA
    I think they know because Mexico gets cool. BY Chris@Sunderland Elementary, Sunderland, MA
    Helen Kittredge (sunder2a@k12s.phast.umass.edu)

    From: CALIFORNIA
    We think monarchs know when to leave Mexico when they finish laying their eggs. They might also leave when the weather gets hot. It takes a certain time to lay eggs, it is probably a natural instinct that they know to leave after mating. Thats what we think about how they know when to leave Mexico. Our names are Carlie, Karisa, Bryon, and Steven. We are from Mariposa, Ca. We are in Mrs. Ubner's fifth grade class. mes (mes@yosemite.net)

    Fom: WASHINGTON
    The students of Waterville Elementary think that there are several reasons that Monarch Butterflys know when to migrate .One is that they can tell by the day and month.They also can tell by their instinct.They can tell when it gets warmer and their bodies start to warm up when the days are longer and the nights are shorter, they know it's time to migrate. Diane Petersen 4-6th grade Mad Scientist
    Waterville Elementary School
    Box 490, Waterville, WA 98858
    dpeterse@esd171.wednet.edu

    From: MINNESOTA
    When they feel the warm wind from the north, they know it is time to migrate. The female monarchs need to carry their eggs to the north for the warm weather. The mothers need nectar. The babies need milkweed to eat. Monarch Team
    Museum Magnet School 3rd Grade
    Saint Paul, MN
    Laura Kindig, 3rd Grade
    kindig@mms.rondo.stpaul.k12.mn.us

    From: INDIANA
    The following answers are from 6th grade students in Mrs. Knight's science Nick Peterson: I think they know because of the photoperiod because the sun is up longer.

    Michele Montgomery:
    Monarchs know when to leave Mexico because when the days get longer, they know that it's probably getting warmer, so they can come back.

    Angela Wolf:
    I think monarchs know when to come back from Mexico when it gets warmer there and that it might be warmer here.

    Andrea Meiers:
    They feel the temperature getting warmer there and the sun coming out earlier and more and more of them keep leaving each day.

    Abby Bloomquist:
    I think they probably look for signs of spring before heading back, like when it gets warmer, flowers start to bloom, and when other animals like the robin start flying back.

    Kris Klecz:
    They know because they might notice it getting hotter in Mexico so they figure they're going to be roast monarch if they stay there much longer. They know it's warm up here, but not as warm as it is where they are. And since they don't want to get torched, they come up here.

    Lyndsey Taylor:
    I think it might be that they just know when to leave. Or it could be a change in temperature, or something. They could just get tired of being there.

    Amy Gum:
    I think the monarchs know when to fly north because of when thte sun rises and falls at a certain time (photoperiod).

    Jessica Lewis:
    I think it is because of the heat and how hot it gets, and when it gets to a certain temperature they travel back.

    Brandon Luck:
    I think the monarch butterfly can sense what the weather is. They might leave becasue the trees' leaves turn green. I think the weather, because it is usually warm when they come. It is usually spring when they come, and it is warm in the spring.

    Donald Hancock:
    It could be an instinct or a change in the weather that they can sense with their antennae.

    Kirsten Bailey:
    The way I think monarchs are able to know whe it's time to leave Mexico is when it becomes very warm for a week or so they know it's warm here and fly back. It also may just be instinct.

    Briget Banuelos:
    I think they know when it's time to leave Mexico when it gets warmer and it starts to bloom. They know then to start coming back, so they know to come back when it's warmer.

    Ashley Mullaney:
    Maybe when it is spring time Mexico's temperature goes up. They can tell whether or not it's warm in the other states by how warm it is in Mexico. When it gets hot enough, the say, "Time to go home!".

    Bobby Winkles:
    When it starts to storm in Mexico, they know it is time to go back, because they can smell the air by flapping their wings.

    Corey Crum:
    Because I think it might get TOO hot for the monarchs in Mexico, they come back.
    Mrs. Angela Knight (aknight@accs.net)

  • Back to Today's Report