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Monarch Butterfly Update: April 26, 2012
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Your Sightings!
Report Your Sightings
How far from Mexico can monarchs fly? How quickly could one monarch produce a billion butterflies? This week's news shares some surprises!

This Week's Update Includes:

Image of the Week
Monarch Butterfly Egg
First Steps
News: First for Canada!
One worn monarch appeared on Tuesday at the Visitor Center in Ontario's Point Pelee National Park. Thanks to this tireless traveler, we can now proclaim that the migration has entered Canada! This record-setting monarch was the Park's earliest in 25 years:

"Historically we have only one earlier record for Point Pelee: April 12, 1986. Earliest monarch sightings at Point Pelee are always worn, indicating direct arrival from wintering areas in Mexico," wrote Park officials.

More Northern Fliers
Scattered sightings of very early monarchs were reported across the north this week, as the migration moved into five new U.S. states—Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Iowa and Minnesota.

Minnesota student Kelly Okerman reported the first for her state and snapped its picture. Do you think the monarch flew to Minnesota from Mexico? Take a look!

An early wave moved into Iowa this week, too. One observer saw a "very, very faded monarch" and added, "I've never seen one this early, and have most certainly never seen eggs this early here."

A Noticeable Shift
A transition is underway as a new generation takes place of the old. Chuck Patterson described it from Driftwood, Texas:

"A noticeable shift to 1st generation monarchs now dominates most of our observations. We still see an occasional traveler from Mexico, faded and tattered from the journey. We saw one female braving the winds whose wings were almost transparent. The 1st generation monarchs are everywhere and we see newly emerged monarchs almost every morning. Their colors are so brilliant and contrast dramatically with the landscape around them."

Counting Monarchs
Observers are counting large numbers of larvae and eggs now. Get ready for numbers to climb as more and more monarchs complete the life cycle.

"Mrs. Daily's second grade class found Monarch larvae on the milkweed plants. One of our 4th grades counted 11 larvae," reports Lakewood Elementary from Kansas.

"Woohoo! Counted 102 eggs on our emerging milkweed," Sean McGuinn reported from Arlington Echo on behalf of the 1st grade classrooms in Anne Arundel County, Maryland.

First monarch for Minnesota!
Kelly Okerman
First for Minnesota!
 
Monarch butterfly
Chuck Patterson
Fading in Texas
 
Michele Meisart
Eggs Everywhere!

 

Did You Know?

Larva is the scientific word for caterpillar. Larvae is the plural of larva, so "larvae" means "caterpillars."

Slideshow: From Egg to Butterfly: How Does a Population Grow?
A female monarch butterfly can lay hundreds of eggs. If every egg survived, the monarch population could grow to a billion butterflies in only four generations. Use this slideshow to explore the essential question:

Essential Question
What limiting factors keep the monarch population from growing exponentially?


Slideshow

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 Journal Page
Journal
Looking for Limiting Factors
First Monarch
(map | animation | sightings)
First Milkweed
(map | animation | sightings)
Annual Evaluation: Please Share Your Thoughts
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Journey North Annual Evaluation
The next monarch migration update will be posted on May 3, 2012.
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