Migration Update: April 24, 2008
Please Report
Your Sightings! >>

Today's Report Includes:

What are these? >>

The Migration: Maps, Questions and Highlights


Where did the South Dakota monarch come from? >>

Handout >>

Highlights: Six New States — and a Sighting in South Dakota!

What a week! According to observers, the monarchs moved into six new states and a most remarkable sighting was reported from Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The monarch was spotted by an experienced monarch tagger who saw the butterfly outside his office window only 15 feet away. At latitude 43N, this sighting is more than 300 miles north of the monarchs that just appeared in Missouri and Kansas. If the butterfly came from Mexico it would have flown over 1,600 miles! Where do you think the monarch came from? Do you think this is a reliable sighting?

  • Consider the evidence and decide what you think. >>

Milkweed Emerging
Kansas City, Missouri
April 20, 2008
Another important observation was made this week by monarch expert Dr. Chip Taylor of Monarch Watch. He announced the first monarch in Lawrence, Kansas, and added: "This spring is the first time that I can recall the monarchs being ahead of the milkweed. (Phenologically the plants are about 9 days slower to develop this year than normal). Yet, there may be a few hot spots in the region such as the edges of dirt roads where the milkweeds are up enough for the females to lay a few eggs." According to Dr. Taylor, if monarchs fly as far north from Mexico as Lawrence, Kansas, they usually arrive during the 3rd week of April.
  • Read more about the sighting in South Dakota >>
  • Notice another exciting addition to the map. A very early monarch was seen on April 11th in New Jersey but was just reported this week.
  • Remember that the migration map only shows where people have REPORTED monarchs, not necessarily where the monarchs are.
  • Predict where the monarchs will go next! Add 6 new states to your list and record your next predictions.
Could weather like this carry a monarch to South Dakota?
Strong south winds Warm air mass as far north as Canada

These maps show conditions on Sunday, April 20th. There were several days with weather like this before the April 22nd sighting in South Dakota. Notice how the strong south winds carried warm air northward across the Great Plains and across the Canadian border. Did a monarch ride north during such conditions?

Challenge Question #11: Where Did the S.D. Monarch Come From? >>

This Week's Question:

  • Where do you think the monarch that was sighted in South Dakota came from? Explain how you reached your conclusion and include evidence to support your reasoning.

To Respond: Write in your journal and send us your answer for possible inclusion in next week's update.

  • Answer to last week's Challenge Question #9 >>
  • Answer to last week's Challenge Question #10 >>
Spotlight: Amazing Adaptations: Larvae Legs >>

Milkweed is the only food a monarch larva eats. Have you ever considered this? How does a young monarch manage to eat the same leaf it's standing upon? Take a close look at the amazing legs monarch larvae have. How do their special legs help monarchs survive?

  • Amazing Adaptations: How Do Larvae's Legs Help Monarchs Survive? >>

 Links: Monarch Butterfly Resources to Explore
More Monarch Lessons and Teaching Ideas!

The Next Monarch Migration Update Will Be Posted on May 1, 2008.