Monarch Butterfly Tulips
Today's News Report Your Sightings Teacher's Manual Search Journey North

Monarch Migration Update: October 20, 1998

Today's Report Includes:

First Monarchs traveling through northern Mexico.

Monarchs Now Traveling Through Northern Mexico
As the monarchs continue their migration, we're thrilled to be able to provide today's news from south of the border. This is possible only through the tireless work of a woman named Senora Rocío Treviño, who for 5 years has gathered monarch sightings from schools in Mexico. Because networked computers are rare in these schools, Senora Trevino collects these sightings the hard way--through mail, phone calls and sometimes by Fax. Her education program is named, "Correo Real" (Royal Mail) and today's sightings were contributed by her students.

Challenge Question # 7
"According to today's sightings, how many miles from the over-wintering sanctuaries do the nearest butterflies seem to be? Use Angangueo, Michoacan, Mexico (19.62 N, -100.30 W) as the monarchs' final destination."

To respond to this question, please follow the instructions at the end of this report.

Señora Rocio Treviño

Contributed by Senora Trevino's "Correo Real" Program:
Important Note: We have removed Spanish characters from the text below because they do not come through properly over the Internet on all systems. Therefore, some of the words below are NOT spelled correctly.

Te envio los reportes de la semana. Son muy pocos en comparacion con el ano pasado en la mismas fechas.

9 de Octubre, Maderas del Carmen, Coahuila (28.98 N, -102.53 W)
Maderas del Carmen estasituado 60 Km. al sur del Big Bend National Park, el personal del area reporta algunas mariposas (9, 10 y 11 de Octubre), el mayor numero de mariposas (1/5 minutos) las observaron el dia 11 en un canon de la sierra.

10 de Octubre, Cuidad Acuna, Coahuila (29.50 N, -100.80W)
El Prof. Javier Reyes Salas y la maestra Norma Leticia Avendano observan algunas mariposas Monarca durante todo el dia.

12 de Octubre, Piedras Negras, Coahuila (28.70 N, -100.31 W)
Nos envio un Fax la maestra Ana Bertha Santos Ch. diciendo: "Estamos observando a la mariposa Monarca."

13 de Octubre, Piedras Negras, Coahuila (28.70 N, -100.31 W)
La maestra Floria Herrera de la escuela Secundaria "Ninos Heroes" observo durante una hora entre 30 y 40 monarcas, alimelintandose, volando y posadas en un Arbol llamado althea. El dia esta nublado y con viento.

13 de Octubre, Piedras Negras, Coahuila (28.70 N, -100.31 W)
Beau A. Salgado observo una Monarca comiendo en un girasolillo y dos volando en busca de un Arbol donde descansar, en Parque de la Canada.

15 de Octubre, Saltillo, Coahuila (25.42 N, -101.00 W)
La nina Lida A. Zertuche observo 5 monarcas posadas en un Arbol de los jardines de Centro Cultural Santa Anita.

10 al 16 de Octubre, Cuatrocienegas, Coahuila, (27.00 N, -102.00 W)
Alejandra Carrera y Pepe Paulin nos informan que durante toda la semana observaron algunas monarcas en diferentes lugares del valle de Cuatrocienegas. El dia 13 observaron 50 en 10 minutos cerca de un arroyo con mucha vegetacion (alamos, huizaches, arboles frutales).

11 de octubre, Montemorelos, Nuevo Leon (25.20 N, -99.50 W)
Rodolfo Najera observo durante todo el dia alrededor de 500 monarcas volando en el Bioparque Estrella.

13 de octubre, Escobedo, Nuevo Leon (25.33 N, -100.70 W)
Liliana y Jean Gauthe observaron a la 13 horas gran cantidad de Monarcas volando, informan que despues llovio y no se vieron mas.

19 de Octubre, Saltillo, Coahuila (25.42 N, -101.00 W)
This morning, I did my first field survey with an overcast weather and some drizell I counted only 25 butterflies roosting in 3 or 4 groups. In the same place at the same time last year I counted hundreds. 17 de Octubre, todavia estamos esperando el arribo de las mariposas a Saitillo, toda la semana el clima estuvo demasiado caliente para ser octubre (30 grados Celsius), hasta hoy amanecio nublado y fresco y ha llovido todo el dia. Yo no pude salir a buscar a las mariposas, maftana salgo con los primeros ninos a marcar (tagging) mariposas y no se si las voy a encontrar. Espero que este frente frio que Ileg6 hoy nos traiga las mariposas a saltillo. Lo que si es impresionante es el paso de otras mariposas de la familia Pieridae (dog face, large orange sulphur, argante giant sulphur sleepy orange, etc.) tambien miles y miles de snout mariposas.

Best wishes from the monarchs!
Rocio Trevino
Correo Real

Students at Monarch Sanctuaries in Mexico are Watching and Waiting
Thanks to Massachusetts teacher Lauren Ockene, students who live near the sanctuaries will let us know when the monarchs arrive this fall. Last summer she equipped the teachers near Angangueo, Michoacan with data sheets and special instructions. Here's the latest news from a tiny school situated beside the Sierra Chincua Sanctuary:

16 de Octubre, Angangueo, Michoacan (19.62 N, -100.30 W)
"CERO Mariposas. Seguimos observando la llegada de la mariposa monarca a estos lugares pero hasta le fecha--no hemos visto ninguna. Seguiremos observando y informando sobre la llegada de la mariposa monarca a ustedes."
Saludos, Profr. Gilberto Salazar Vargas, Escuela Pedro Ascencio

Discussion of Challenge Question # 5
Last week, a cold front clearly pushed the monarch migration into Texas. Challenge Question #5 asked, "At what longitude do the 30 sightings seem to be concentrated in Texas and Oklahoma? What do these sightings suggest about monarch migration through this region?"

Mr. Daugherty's 4th and 5th grade class in Vero Beach, Florida said had a lesson in finding the average of a group of 30 numbers. "It was interesting to note that 18 of the 30 sightings were between 97 and 98 west longitude," they commented. Renae, a fifth grader, calculated correctly the average longitude -- approximately 97.96 W.

Migration Pathways in Texas

Courtesy of Texas Parks and Wildlife

In fact, the sightings were along what Dr. Bill Calvert calls the "central flyway" in Texas. The migration actually moves through Texas on 2 different flyways and at 2 different times, or pulses. The first pulse travels down the central flyway and the second pulse moves along what's known as the Gulf Coast flyway. The monarchs that use the central flyway probably come from the mid-western prairie states. The coastal Monarchs most likely come from east of the Mississippi River.

The data you've helped collect this fall support this theory! By Sept. 7, the Midwest migration had already reached Nebraska (41 N), it reached Kansas (39 N) on Sept. 23, and a clear wave arrived in Texas (30 N) the week of October 5th. Today monarchs are found throughout the Texas central flyway, yet they have not yet come down the Texas Gulf coast.

Typically, this second pulse reaches Texas later because the monarchs have come from farther away. This fall, it wasn't until Sept. 26th that a big wave moved in Virginia (37 N) and North Carolina (36 N). Last week monarchs finally began to appear in numbers in Arkansas (33 N), Louisiania (30 N) and even on an oil platform off the LA coast in the Gulf of Mexico. "We finally started to see a few Monarch Butterflies -- but only a few," said Bob Russell who's situation on the South Pelto oil platform (28.93 N, -90.71 W). Perhaps next week we'll see this 2nd pulse appear on the Texas Gulf.

Migration Pathway Through Mexico
Now look at a physical map of North America and find the Sierra Madre Oriental Mountains in northern Mexico. When the monarchs reach Mexico, they travel through the inner montane valleys of the Sierra Madres. According to Dr. Bill Calvert, "These mountains seem to focus the migration and direct it towards the overwintering sites located in the Transvolcanic Belt of central Mexico (19.62 N, -100.30 W). The Sierra Madre Oriental forms a great elongated massif that stands in the path of easterly winds that predominate at this time of year. In short, the butterflies are about to receive a 'lift' from these winds, as the air rises over the east facing mountain slopes of the multiple ranges of the Sierra Madre. Flying through this rising air makes flight much easier."

Arizona Monarch Sighting Raises Questions
4th grade students at DeMiguel Elementary sent this surprising news last week:

10/12/98 Flagstaff, AZ (35.48 N, -111.73 W)
"We have never seen a monarch here before, but spotted one on the playground this week."

Challenge Question # 8
"Any ideas where this monarch might have come from? Where do you think an Arizona monarch might be headed for the winter?"

Translation of Last Week's Message from Senora Trevino
"Las mariposas Monarcas se empezaron a ver desde el sabado 10 en Ciudad Acuña (29.50N, -100.80W) y hoy 12 de octubre, recibí un reporte de Piedras Negras (28.75N, -100.50W), ambas ciudades situadas a la orilla del Rio Bravo (Rio Grande) al norte del estado de Coahuila, ambos reportes sólo indican unas cuantas mariposas, espero que con un frente frío que parece llega hoy por la noche entren en grandes cantidades a México. Estaré en comunicación contigo."
Rocío Treviño
Correo Real

The monarch butterflies began to be seen from Saturday the 10 in Ciudad Acuna (29.50N, -100.80W) and today 12 of October, I received a report from Piedras Negras (28.75N, -100.50W), both cities are located on the border of the Rio Bravo (Rio Grande) to the north of the state of Coahuila. Bth reports only indicate a few butterflies. I hope that with a cold front that seems it arrives today at night enter great amounts in Mexico. I will be in communication with you."

Coming Tomorrow: Symbolic Monarch Migration Update
Watch for news from the symbolic migration staging area in Minneapolis tomorrow!

How to Respond to Today's Challenge Questions:

Please answer ONLY ONE question in EACH e-mail message!

  1. Address an e-mail message to:
  2. In the Subject Line of your message write: Challenge Question # 7 (or #8)
  3. In the body of each message, answer ONE of the questions in today's report.

The Next Monarch Migration Update Will be Posted on October 27, 1998.

Copyright 1998 Journey North. All Rights Reserved.
Please send all questions, comments, and suggestions to
our feedback form

Today's News Report Your Sightings Teacher's Manual Search Journey North