Seminole Crop E News

Agricultural News for Farmers and Agribusiness in SW Georgia

Question of the week – Monarch Butterfly – Migration

Posted by romeethredge on November 19, 2015

Last week I had a photo of some butterflies we saw down on the coast of Florida. They were abundant due to it being migration time for them. They were getting ready to fly over the Gulf of Mexico to their wintering grounds. What an amazing creation the Monarch is!

Here’s more information from the University of Florida concerning them.

Fullscreen capture 11192015 41606 PM

“The monarch is the only butterfly species in the world to undertake a long-distance roundtrip migration. Each fall, monarchs west of the Rocky Mountains travel to specific sites on the California coast, while monarchs from the eastern U.S. and southern Canada undertake a much longer journey, up to 3,000 miles, to wintering grounds in the mountains of central Mexico (Figure 2). The scope of this migration resembles that of many bird species, and the fact that it is being undertaken by a paper-thin insect weighing less than one gram is truly a source of wonder. Researchers are still uncertain how monarchs navigate their journey, but believe that they use a combination of directional aids such as the magnetic pull of the earth and the position of the sun, rather than a single method. More amazing still, the butterflies that migrate each fall are three or more generations removed from those that made the journey the previous year.

Birds and mammals learn migratory routes from their parents, but monarchs don’t live long enough to “teach” their children how to migrate! The migratory generation originates in the fall with adults living for eight or nine months, just long enough to travel to Mexico or California, endure the winter, and return to the southern U.S. to lay eggs before dying. Over the summer, three or four generations of monarchs are produced. These summer generations have a much shorter lifespan than the migratory generation—only three to five weeks because they devote much of their resources to reproduction. By the end of the summer, the third or fourth generations make their way back to the place their grandparents or great grandparents came from the previous spring.”

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Here’s this week’s question… What are these and why are we seeing a good many now in public places in town?IMG_9446

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