Monarch Butterfly
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Monarch Butterfly

Journey North News will be posted on Fridays:
Feb. 7, 14, 21,28, Mar 7,14,21, 28,Apr. 4, 11, 18, 25, May 2, 9, 16, 23,30 ...and weekly until the migration is completed!

Journey North News

February 7, 2003
Welcome to our spring monarch migration season! How many monarchs are in Mexico this year? Everyone awaits the count, after the devastating storm of January 2002. Meet monarch biologist Dr. Bill Calvert who will write from Mexico each week. Make a video visit to the sanctuaries, and put poetry to the pictures. This week's challenge: How much does a bough-full of 15,000 butterflies weigh?

February 14, 2003
How much space does a monarch colony need? Would all those butterflies fit on your school grounds? Try this photo safari and search for the missing monarchs at the Sierra Chincua sanctuary. Mexican student Noemi de Jesus and her dad give a Spanish lesson. Can you pronounce the vocabulary words commonly used at the monarch butterfly's winter home?

February 21, 2003
In the wake of last winter's storm, scientists were surprised and relieved by results showing this winter's population at near average levels. Concerns about deforestation remain. How many ways do you think the local people use wood, in their daily lives? Every year predators take a big bite out of the monarch population--some 15% of all butterflies. Can you tell which predator ate the butterflies pictured in today's report?
February 28, 2003
"Cascading" is a spectacular butterfly behavior, common in the sanctuaries at this time of year, whose cause and purpose remain a mystery. What experiment could you design to try to tease out the cause? The typical sanctuary area family uses two burrow-loads of firewood a week. In an effort to slow deforestation, new stoves are one answer. Can you name the cause of deforestation shown in these pictures?

March 7 , 2003
"If I were given the task of decorating a mountain forest I couldn't conceive of a better arrangement," said Dr. Calvert of the flowers and fluttering butterflies around him. Authors often connect unknown ideas with known concepts to help readers learn about a topic. What similes, metaphors and analogies can you find in the writing today? This week's video clips show some of the challenges of deforestation.

Copyright Lincoln Brower
Sweet Briar College


March 14, 2003
The first monarchs from Mexico are expected in Texas any day! "Last year, we saw the first monarch on March 12," reported Harlen Aschen from the Texas Gulf coast. From Mexico this week, a hopeful story about reforestation, and how Journey North students are helping with the "Children’s Monarch Butterfly Reforestation Project."

March 21, 2003
A sudden wave of migration crossed into Texas last week, with 41 sightings flying in. But tens of millions of monarchs are still at the sanctuaries in Mexico, poised to begin their journey north. Within two weeks they’ll all be gone. Many questions about migration remain unresolved. For example, how do you interpret the sightings from the Florida panhandle? Did those monarchs come from Mexico?
Lincoln Brower
Sweet Briar College
  March 28, 2003
The migration continued to build in Texas last week, and spilled into Louisiana and Mississippi. Reports of butterflies still at the Mexican sanctuaries mean the population now extends some 600 miles through northern Mexico as well. Luckily, monarchs won't arrive here for another two months. Where is my monarch habitat located? As the crow flies, 2,334 miles from Mexico. Read other geographical clues, then guess the location of this monarch habitat.
egg_0002   April 4 , 2003
Monarchs have now advanced into Arkansas and Oklahoma, and scattered sightings have been reported a far east as Georgia, South and North Carolina! For the next generation, the life cycle begins! This week's report is all about eggs: How many does a single monarch lay? What's a day like in the life of an egg? How do young monarchs survive without parents? Finally, guess the location of this week's mystery monarch habitat.
Monarch_Summer2002_049 April 11 , 2003
The migration advanced slowly last week, but Missouri, Kansas and Tennessee were added to the count. Why fewer and fewer sightings in Apri, then suddenly more in May? Monarch larvae spend their lives eating--and growing. Imagine gaining 2,000 times YOUR weight in less than two weeks! Explore the ecology of the backyard milkweed patch. It's a jungle out there.
CaterpillarFeast006  April 18 , 2003
The overwintering population will probably not travel much farther than today's map shows. But fresh-winged butterflies will soon replace their parents, and continue the migration northward. Be glad they're not walking! Today, a close look at larva locomotion. How do caterpillars keep track of all those legs?
CaterpillarFeast003  April 25 , 2003
Faded-winged butterflies from Mexico are still being seen. How long have they been alive? Monarch larvae are voracious herbivores. What do plants do to avoid being devoured? A look at plant/herbivore interactions reveals an astonishing array of defenses and counter defenses. "A co-evolutionary arms race is operating in this plant-herbivore system," says Dr. Lincoln Brower. Let's look at both sides of the battle.
May 2, 2003
Biodiversity increased in three states last week, when monarch butterflies arrived in Ohio, Maryland and Virginia. What butterfly body part is pictured here? The cremaster of course--and the spaghetti-like material being grabbed by the hooks is silk. The process of metamorphosis is described by Dr. Brower. “What is happening is a biological miracle going on inside that caterpillar,” he says.
eclose006   May 9, 2003
Monarchs have arrived in five new states, with single sightings as far north as NJ and MA. With the next generation now emerging in full force, the migration should flood northward during the next two weeks and cross into Canada. Have you ever watched a monarch emerge from its chrysalis? Butterflies are now bursting forth like spring flowers from swollen buds. How's eclosing from a chrysalis like a chick hatching from an egg?
  May16, 2003
The leading edge of the migration has now reached 42 degrees north across all longitudes. Watch for monarchs to fill in across the U.S. states during the second half of May, and flood into Canada. These monarchs are the children of those who left Mexico in March. Insects have very short generations. The monarch life cycle takes place in about one month. How long are human generations? Draw your family tree and find out.
  May23, 2003
During the past week, monarchs were spotted during a Major League baseball game in Connecticut and a Little League game in Massachusetts. We heard from first grade students just learning about monarchs, to a scientist who has studied them for a lifetime. The northernmost sighting was reported from 43 N, and the first monarch has now crossed into Canada. Compare spring migrations of 2001, 2002 and 2003. What similarities and differences do you notice?
  May 30, 2003
What dramatic changes this week’s migration map shows! The migration surged into MN and WI. Where not a single monarch had been seen, 19 were reported in the space of 5 days. The migration is lagging behind in the East by some 250 miles, based on northernmost sightings. How many more states and provinces the monarchs must reach before their migration is complete? Look at this map of the monarch’s breeding range and find out.
  June 6, 2003
Just a quick update today to the latest data for your migration map. We will be providing "Data Only" updates each Friday in June, until the migration is complete. For those keeping track, monarchs arrived in one new state and one new province during the past week, Manitoba and New Hampshire.
  June 13, 2003
Just a quick update today to the latest data for your migration map. We will be providing "Data Only" updates each Friday in June, until the migration is complete.
  June 20, 2003
Just a quick update today to the latest data for your migration map. We will be providing "Data Only" updates each Friday in June, until the migration is complete.










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