Not All Monarchs Make it to Mexico
What Do Florida Tagging
True Stories About
Tagged Monarch Butterflies)
On October 10, 2002, Ms. Laura Witkiewicz witnessed one of the hazards
of migration when visiting Panama City Beach, Florida. Thousands of
dead monarchs littered the beach.
walked .7 mile from our hotel to the pier, and there were probably
25 dead monarchs per yard on the beach. I figured they must have had
trouble as a group while migrating. Can you comment on this please?”
Mr. Richard RuBino, who is based neaby on Florida’s Panhandle.
He conducts the annual monarch census at St. Marks National Wildlife
Refuge, in St. Marks, FL. He has a very interesting hypothesis as to
why the monarchs might have washed ashore, based on his own tagging
tropical storm (the previous week) could well have forced migrating
monarchs down into the water and then washed them ashore,” he
speculated. “In the fall, monarchs are frequently found hundreds
of miles out in the Gulf on boats and oil platforms. It rather corroborates
my hypothesis that many of the monarchs migrating down to the Gulf
coast try to fly across the Gulf to Mexico.”
of the nearly 12,500 monarchs he has tagged at St. Marks Refuge in ten
years, only three have been found in Mexico. This is far, far below
the ratios recorded elsewhere. According to Dr. Chip Taylor of Monarch
Watch, nearly 1% of all monarchs tagged are found at the sanctuaries
Photo: Gayle Kloewer
Compare the Florida tagging results to the overall tagging results:
- If 1%
of the monarchs Mr. RuBino tagged on the Florida Panhandle had been
recovered in Mexico, how many recoveries would you expect? (Remember:
1% means one in every one hundred, 10 in every thousand, 100 in every
ten thousand, etc.)
- In reality,
only 1 in ___ of the St. Marks, FL monarchs has been recovered in Mexico.
a description comparing this rate of recovery. What do you suppose is
happening to the Florida monarchs?
through these problems yourself, then check
Science Education Standards
Use data to conduct a reasonable explanation. (K-4)
explanations, predictions, and models using evidence. (5-8)
in Spatial Terms
How to use maps and other geographic representations, tools, and technologies
to acquire, process, and report information.
Understand meanings of operations and how they relate to one another.