Monarch Migration Update: April 22, 2010
Please Report
Your Sightings!

Waiting and hoping...The next generation of monarchs is developing now and the monarchs from Mexico are reaching their final days. Consider the monarch's need for renewal on Earth Day. Where is habitat most important in the early spring? A pie chart reveals clues. Also this week: How does the monarch get out of its chrysalis? Take a close look!

This Week's Update Includes:

Image of the Week
Video clip of monarch eclosing

How does the monarch get out of the chrysalis?

News: Reaching the End of the Road

The drama is palpable. As the monarchs from Mexico reach the end of their lives, fewer and fewer people are reporting sightings. We received only 17 during the past week.

People who do see monarchs describe them as “rather raggedy,” “very tattered,” and “fairly worn." It's almost the end of April now, so these butterflies could be 8 months old. Just think how far they've traveled!

Observers in Oklahoma are particularly aware of the monarchs' absence. Take note:

Stillwater, Oklahoma
"I observed my first monarch adult of the year in my backyard on April 20th even though I've spent much of April outdoors here in Stillwater."

Kingfisher, Oklahoma
"A very unusual year! No Monarchs or eggs sighted for central Oklahoma, yet. Usually, I have too many eggs by the first part of April, and I am scrounging around for food. The milkweed looks very lonely!"

Milkweed is Ready!
With unusually warm temperatures across most of the monarch's northern range, milkweed has grown quickly. Look at these maps to compare last spring to this spring. Think about the advantages and disadvantages early milkweed readiness could have for monarchs

Spring 2009 milkweed map
Spring 2009

Happy Earth Day, Monarchs!
We celebrate the Earth's power of renewal on Earth Day. For monarchs, the need for renewal is especially clear at this time of year. The number of adult monarch butterflies is at its lowest; at no other time of year are there so few butterflies. Exactly where on Earth is habitat most important for monarchs in the early spring?

Milkweed News from South to North

Feeding hungry caterpillars in Texas

Last week milkweed was covered with caterpillars in
Texas (30N)

Milkweed in Nebraska

Already six inches tall in Nebraska (41N)

Milkweed emerging on Tuesday morning

Just emerging
in Illinois (42N)

Milkweed seeds

Planted as seeds under grow lights by 1st graders
in Minnesota (47N).

The Migration: Maps and Journal Page



This year's small monarch population means spring sightings are especially important. Please help us document when and where monarchs and milkweed appear this spring.

Slideshow: How does the monarch get out of the chrysalis?

A monarch ecloses from its chrysalis as beautifully as a flower bursts from a bud. This everyday miracle will take place millions and millions of times in the coming months, perhaps in your own backyard. But how does the monarch get out? Explore that question using your powers of observation and these time-lapse photos:

More Monarch Lessons and Teaching Ideas!

The Next Monarch Migration Update Will Be Posted on April 29, 2010.