Butterfly Migration Update: March 19, 2004
Today's Report Includes:
Notes from Mexico by Dr. Bill Calvert
Here come the monarchs! On yesterdays’ visit to Pelon, Dr. Calvert
saw the colony in the process of breakup.
butterfly colonies are definitely vacating, that's clear," said
Calvert. Monarchs were pouring out of the arroyos at the base of the
mountains. Where there were tens of millions of butterflies only last
week, dense clusters were scarce this week. "It's very puzzling,
though, because we haven't seen the flood of butterflies that typically
fill the skies in Angangueo. Perhaps because it was unseasonably cold
this past week--the coldest of the 5 weeks I've been here. But the colonies
are definitely breaking up, and the butterflies have to be going somewhere!"
Calvert himself will be flying north this week too, back to his home
in Texas. Many thanks for providing these weekly updates from your
phone booth in the field, Bill!
Will the Migration Reach Texas?
During the past week, the butterflies have clearly begun to move. When do
you think the first big wave will appear in Texas? Are they early, late
or right on time? Take a look at these migration maps from past years and
see what you think:
respond to this question, please follow the instructions below.)
Stay Off of the Ground? Discussion of CQ #9
Last week, monarchs were shivering on the forest floor of the sanctuary
in the video clip. Their goal was to warm their muscles so they's be able
to crawl or fly off the ground. Challenge Question #9 asked, “Why
do you think butterflies shiver so hard--and spend so much energy--trying
to get off of the ground?"
predators will get them if they stay on the ground, tourists and other
people might step on them and butterflies want to fly!," responded
Mrs. Nunnally's students in Bedford, NH.
You Know? Millions of Monarchs Eaten by Predators
In a typical year, upwards of 15% of the entire over-wintering population
dies due to predatory activities. Close inspection of a dead butterfly gives
a clue as to its predator. Who ate these butterflies? Try your skill on
this predator identification quiz!
Enemies at the Over-wintering Sites
Photos Copyright Dr.
Lincoln P. Brower, Sweet Briar College
Monarch Conservationists: Unknown and Unsung
remains the primary communications barrier in Monarch Butterfly conservation,"
says Jordi Honey-Roses in his monthly update. "Despite their work,
Mexican efforts to protect the Monarch's overwintering sites are overlooked,
not well communicated, or not fully understood by the larger North American
Monarch Butterfly community," he says.
Rendón Salinas, for example. He works on the staff of the Monarch
Butterfly Biosphere Reserve. People all over the world depend on Eduardo
and the Reserve staff to protect the monarch’s winter habitat. But
like many of his Mexican counterparts, says Honey-Roses, Rendón’s
hard work and commitment goes largely unrecognized.
This! Read Then Write
Read: Jordi Honey-Roses update about the language barrier
between our countries. Why does he say the barrier is greater for Mexicans?
Read about the many ways Eduardo and the Reserve staff take care of the
monarch over-wintering region. It’s a year-round job, even though
the monarchs visit for only five months of the year.
Write: Surprise Eduardo with a letter of thanks! He and the Reserve
staff would enjoy knowing that you appreciate their hard work. Also, tell
what you're doing to protect monarch habitat on the monarch’s breeding
grounds in the north.
Reserva de la Biosfera Mariposa Monarca (RBMM)
Primera Cerrada de Santos Degallado
Col. Heroes Ferrocarilleros
Zitacuaro, Michoacan 61500
y apellidos: What's in a Family Name?
have 3 names, just like Eduardo’s. “In Mexico we have sort of
a collection of names that tells our family history,” begins Karina
Romero de Avila. She shares the history in her own name. What would your
name be in Mexico, using the Spanish custom?
Monarch Habitat in...Challenge Question #11
We thank the Journey North readers hiding in the following place for this
year's first Monarch Habitat Challenge. Can you guess where they are?
are 1,592 miles from the sanctuaries in Mexico. Although our ground
is pretty much thawed, a late winter snow storm recently dumped about
4 inches of snow on our emerging grass, tulips, and plants in the butterfly
garden at our school. The robins are already here and the trees are
budded out, ready to bloom. We are on the Mississippi River. Our Monarchs
usually arrive at the end of May and we hope to have a water feature
added to our garden by that time to provide a complete habitat for our
"In what state or province do you think this monarch habitat is
located? Send us your guess! (And, send a photo of your local monarch
habitat, plus geographical clues, for a future Challenge Question.)"
to Respond to Today's Challenge Question:
an e-mail message to: firstname.lastname@example.org
2. In the Subject Line of your message write: Challenge
Question #10 (or #11)
3. In the body of your message, answer the question above.
The Next Monarch Butterfly Migration Update Will Be Posted on March
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