Monarch Migration Update: March 8, 2000
Today's Report Includes:
The First Monarchs Are on Their Way!
"Parece ser que la migracion al norte ya esta comensando. Observe varias mariposas volando hacia el norte y fuera de la reserva."
"It seems that the migration to the north is already beginning because I have observed several butterflies flying towards the north and outside the reserve."
On his weekly visit to Chincua last week, there were no longer any trees holding clusters of monarchs. The butterflies had all dispersed down the canyon. Meanwhile, far to the north in Saltillo, Coahuila, Rocio Trevino of the Correo Real monarch tracking project reported:
"Ya estan las mariposas Monarca pasando por Coahuila!"
"Already there are monarch butterflies passing by Coahuila!" (See the migration data and map below.)
The United States of Mexico
Since the migration is now beginning to pass through northern Mexico, you'll need to know the names of the states the butterflies cross. Today's migration data come from 3 different states, as you'll see below.
Has the Migration Already Reached Texas?
Even further to the north, 4th grade students at Ben Milam Elementary in McAllen, TX (26.21 N, -98.23 W) noticed a sudden increase in eggs and larvae on their milkweed. Teacher Janice Merritt wrote last Friday:
How Can You Tell a Migratory Monarch?
Today's map includes migration observations, and also reports from places where monarchs were sighted all winter. As you can see, in some regions of Texas there were monarchs all winter. It makes you wonder:
Migration and Winter Sightings Data
Journey North observers reported monarchs in the places. After reading each observer's comments, we used February 26 as the cut off date to separate "winter" vs. "migration" sightings on our map.
Snowstorm in Mexico on Sunday
Writing from Irapuato, Guanajuato, where he saw the first migratory monarchs on March 6, Dr. Martinez-Soriano sent this weather report: "On Sunday night there was a really heavy snow/hail storm in the mountains of the State of Mexico. The monarch sanctuaries are very close to the critical area."
You may be surprised to know there are snowstorms in the sanctuary region. After all, don't monarchs migrate to Mexico to get away from snow? We asked Dr. Calvert how these snowstorms might affect the monarchs:
"After a snowstorm, I'd expect that most butterflies would survive, even many of those stuck in the snow. Miraculously, once the snow melts, I've seen them warm up and finally move off. They might even have been buried for a full week!
"However, in 1981 we happened to be monitoring mortality in the Chincua colony and documented tremendous mortality due a severe snowstorm. Our count was over 2.5 million dead. The storm had devastated the butterfly population!
Life in the Sanctuary Region
The Indigenous Community of Mazahua
Now that the migration has begun, our last reports from Mexico will be posted in the next 2 weeks. We will also summarize the Challenge Questions that have not yet been answered, and provide the final personal interviews with people in the region. Here are today's stories:
Get Ready to Track the Migration
Although it takes 3-4 weeks for all the butterflies to leave Mexico--and probably much longer to reach you--please sharpen your observation skills now. Print and review the checklists below so you'll be ready to make good field observations this spring:
How to Respond to Today's Monarch Challenge Questions|
IMPORTANT: Please answer ONLY ONE
1. Address an e-mail message to: email@example.com
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