Update: February 14, 2008
Winter Sightings! >>
from the Monarch's Winter Home in Mexico >>
Lincoln Brower Back from Mexico
Beauty of Butterflies
about size of Sierra Chincua sanctuary
Do Monarchs Form Colonies? >>
Question #2 >>
much does a branch full of butterflies weigh?
to Challenge Question #1
Monarch Butterfly Resources to Explore >>
Exploring the Monarch's Winter Home in Mexico
do Monarchs fly to Mexico from across the continent?
Each week we're exploring a piece of the puzzle.
Dr. Lincoln Brower Back from Mexico
I've just returned from a research trip to the monarch sites.
Beauty of Butterflies
The monarchs' behavior is so gentle and beautiful at this time of year.
They're just dancing embers in the forest. They're like this when they
arrive in the fall — and even now in February. They're not very
stressed yet and haven't gone into their spring moving phase where you
see big explosions and millions flying through the air. It's just lovely
and gentle, like a very sweet part of a symphony. The boughs and trunks
of the trees are draped with curtains of monarchs resting quietly in the
About Size of Sierra Chincua Colony
The Chincua colony is tiny this year and has been small for several years.
graph.) But this year the colony is so small it really worries me.
I think the progressive degradation of the forest is beginning to show
its effect. The Sierra Chincua was a pristine forest years ago, but now
the forest has been severely damaged by illegal logging. (See satellite
(March 2006 photo by Don Davis)
Sierra Chincua Colony
Sierra Chincua Colony >>
Marked with colony's location
in December, 2004
do monarchs form colonies? >>
do monarch butterflies come together by the millions and form colonies
the way they do? They crowd together so closely it's hard to tell where
one butterfly ends and the other begins. And why do some monarchs cluster
on the trunks of trees instead of in branches? Dr. Brower has a hypothesis.
how the monarchs' unique clustering behavior might help them survive.
Question #2: How much does a branch full of butterflies weigh?
can be 15,000 butterflies clinging to a single branch in a monarch butterfly
colony. The butterflies are so heavy they can bend branches!
- If the
typical monarch weighs 500 mg, how much would a branch loaded with 15,000
butterflies weigh? (Give your answer in kilograms and in pounds.)Also,
name another object that weighs the same amount, for comparison.
in your journal and send
us your answer for possible inclusion in next week's update.
to last week's question
Question #1 >>
Monarch Butterfly Resources to Explore
Why don't cold butterflies fall? >>
How many paper clips can bend a branch? >>
and Survival: Who's
Been Eating the Monarchs? Slideshow
Who ate these monarchs? Look for clues! >>
The Forest as Blanket, Umbrella & Hot Water Bottle (Analogies) >>
Monarch Winter Habitat Journal >>
About Journey North's Monarch Butterfly Overwintering Study
Next Monarch Migration Update Will Be Posted on February 21, 2008.