Tag number GAZ175 was found by yours truly. She was a medium-sized female,
watering in a shallow stream crossing down from the Rosario Colony. I
wonder where she is from.
Two colonies have split. The massive Rosario Colony now has an upper part
situated in the side of the Arroyo de los Conejos. The lower part is larger
and remains centered within the area defined by the stairs and trails.The
movement is a mystery in that the new colony is clearly above the established
colony. Usually the movement is down slope. One possible explanation is
that a large water source is available in the direction of the new colony
on the Llano de los Conejos.
The Pelon Colony is
also split, but in a traditional manner. A small colony is forming down
the mountain from the original location. The original colony at Pelon
has some of the most heavily butterfly-festooned oyamel firs that I have
ever seen. Everyone agrees that the Pelon colony is the most beautiful
probably because the forest is so beautiful. We commend the people of
the Macheros ejido for taking such good care of their land.
'Dry as a Bone' So Colonies Must Move
The entire terrain is dried out this time of year because there is just
no, there’s hardly any water available in the form of dew or rain.
The Tuesday rain shower brief rain shower was a great exception. (It rained
on us. But it was one of those kind of showers that didn’t even
wet the ground.) Basically the entire mountainside is as dry as a bone
and the butterflies are forced out of the colonies down to open sources
of water to drink. So that’s why so much colony movement this time
of year. They are leaving the colony and they’re going down, and
they’re not going all the way back.
Protected for Late-Season Needs
In both cases they are still within the Reserves (or at least the buffer
areas of the Reserve, I’m not sure exactly where the boundaries
are). In the areas that we have been investigating the watersheds are
protected. And this is a very good thing because the butterflies are not
only situated in the colonies that they form early in the year. They move
down and they use the lower portions of these watersheds during the latter
part of the year so it’s very important that the entire watershed