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Monarch Migration News: March 12, 2015
By Elizabeth Howard
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Mating is reaching its peak as the monarchs get ready to head north to the breeding grounds. Mass departure from Mexico is imminent.

Monarch Butterflies
Estela Romero      March 2014

News: Waiting...
Waiting for Departure
There's no news of mass exodus yet, says Estela. Full departure occurs sometime during the last half of March. It can be sudden and dramatic or almost imperceptible.

Meanwhile, mating increases in earnest.

"Massive mating takes place everywhere you turn your eyes," says Estela. "Pairs are either on the ground, flying up with partners clinging together, others are landing during the full mating moment, on the ground, at the flowers, or in the branches of trees."

Most of the butterflies' wings show wear and tear. It has been a long winter!

Waiting for First Arrivals
We expect the first migration reports from northern Mexico and Texas any day.

"The leading edge of the migration typically crosses the Rio Grande around March 15th," says Texas monarch expert, Mike Quinn.

Monarch Butterflies Mating in Mexico Before Departure
Mating Increases
 
Monarch Butterflies Mating in Mexico Before Departure

Nuptial Flight

Tag Recovery: Sydney's Monarch
 
Monarch Butterflies Tagged Monarch Butterfly Migration Map Monarch Butterflies

Tagged in Minnesota

Sydney is a 7-year old girl from Nowthen, MN. Her father found a monarch caterpillar in the horse pasture and Sydney raised it to an adult butterfly. Her family tagged and released the monarch on September 7, 2014.

Flew 2,000 Miles

Sidney lives 2,000 miles from Mexico. "Even though we all know monarchs fly to Mexico it is still amazing to me that one little butterfly can fly so far with such accuracy," said Sydney's father.

Recovered in Mexico

About 30,000 monarchs were tagged in fall 2014, according to Diane Pruden of Monarch Watch. Only a few hundred tags are typically found at the sanctuaries. On February 23, 2015 Sydney's tag #THY 272 was recovered!

Conservation News

Monarch Conservation Webinar Series
Upcoming webinar topics and dates have been announced:

  • Citizen Science (April 23)
  • Habitat Augmentation (April 30)
  • Monarch Research (May 21)
  • Previous programs can also be viewed any time.

Monarch Citizen Science and Data Accuracy
Dr. Karen Oberhauser's shares her thoughts based on the experiences of the three largest-scale monarch citizen science projects.

How you can help monarch butterflies
Maps: Report Your Sightings
Monarch butterfly migration map Monarch butterfly migration map Map of milkweed emergence: Spring 2015
What to Report First Adult
report | map | list
Milkweed
report | map | list
Monarch butterfly migration map Monarch butterfly migration map Monarch butterfly migration map
First Egg
report | map | list
First Larvae
report | map | list
Other Observations
report | map | list
Journal and Activities
Journal
Next Update March 19, 2015
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