Monarch Butterfly Update: April 5, 2012
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Your Sightings!
Report Your Sightings
Kentucky had a first this week—a monarch as well as a basketball team! Six states saw a clear wave of arrival, Kansas, Missouri, North Carolina and Tennessee. Look closely at images of magnified butterfly eggs. Small things become extraordinary when keenly observed. Also, answers from the expert are here. Enjoy!

This Week's Update Includes:

Image of the Week
Discovering Monarch Butterfly Eggs in Nashville, Tennessee
Photo: Becky Collins
News: Laying Eggs Along the Way
Eggs Mean Monarchs
One way to watch for monarchs is to watch for their eggs. You'll know a butterfly has arrived in your region even if you never see one:

"I haven't personally seen a monarch yet—but obviously there was at least one female!" wrote teacher Becky Collins from Nashville, Tennessee. She and her class discovered 15 monarch eggs!

Egg and Habitat Observations
People noticed details about eggs and habitat this week. What new facts can you learn from these observers?

  • Oklahoma: Sandra Schwinn found 46 eggs on her milkweed plants, plus one predator: "I found a ladybug who was enjoying an egg. She has been removed!" All of the eggs were laid on native milkweed. "None was layed on the non-native (curassavica)," she noted.
  • Texas: Several eggs were found in a garden in McKinney. "Some plants had multiple eggs but most had one egg per plant.
  • Tennessee: "Our first monarch of the season was observed laying eggs on our milkweed sprouts in a garden area. Almost every sprout has one or two eggs. This is far different from last year, when there was so little milkweed that the female was laying over a dozen on each sprout."

Early Milkweed!
This spring's early green-up continued. Milkweed has now emerged 600 miles farther north—and as much as one month earlier—than last year! Compare this spring to last spring on the animated map.

Discovering Monarch Butterfly Eggs in Nashville, Tennessee
Eggs Mean Monarchs
Photo: Becky Collins
Photo: Dennis B.
Faded Wings

Milkweed: Spring 2011 vs. Spring 2012
Early Milkweed
Photo Gallery: Egg Hunt
Explore the science and wonder of butterfly eggs by looking closely at images of magnified eggs. Small things become extraordinary when they are keenly observed!

Butterfly Eggs
Egg Hunt
Answers from the Expert: Dr. Karen Oberhauser
Special thanks to Dr. Karen Oberhauser for sharing her time and expertise again this year to answer readers' questions.

Dr. Karen Oberhauser
Dr. Karen Oberhauser
The Migration: Maps and Journal Page
Let's find out when and where monarchs and milkweed appear this spring.
Monarch Butterfly Winter Sightings Map of milkweed emergence: Spring 2011 Worksheet: Journal Page
First Monarch
(map | animation | sightings)
First Milkweed
(map | animation | sightings)
The next monarch migration update will be posted on April 12, 2012.