Monarch Butterfly Migration

Posted on October 15, 2007  Comments (7)

Monarch Butterfly

Helping track the monarch butterfly migration is a very cool interactive learning projects for students. The Monarch Butterfly Journey North site includes a great wealth of resource with real time reports and answers to science questions.:

A massive migration across Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Kansas this week resulted in the most spectacular sightings of the season. Most miraculous was the mile of clustering monarchs discovered on Sunday in a sunflower field in Kansas. Just think…It’s the first week of October and migrating monarchs are still being spotted across the north.

From the Monarchs in the Classroom website:

Unlike most other insects in temperate climates, monarch butterflies cannot survive a long cold winter. Every fall, North American monarchs fly south to spend the winter at roosting sites. Monarchs are the only butterflies to make such a long, two-way migration, flying up to 3000 miles in the fall to reach their winter destination. Amazingly, they fly in masses to the same winter roosts, often to the exact same trees. Their migration is more the type we expect from birds or whales than insects. However, unlike birds and whales, individuals only make the round-trip once. It is their children’s grandchildren that return south the following fall.

Monarch Travels (2006 post)

To test their ability to reorient themselves, Dr. Taylor has moved butterflies from Kansas to Washington, D.C. If he releases them right away, he said, they take off due south, as they would have where they were. But if he keeps them for a few days in mesh cages so they can see the sun rise and set, “they reset their compass heading,” he said. “The question is: How?”

Related: – Evolution at Work with the Blue Moon ButterflyTwo Butterfly Species Evolved Into ThirdDiversity of insect circadian clocks – the story of the Monarch butterfly

7 Responses to “Monarch Butterfly Migration”

  1. CuriousCat: Nature Recreation Declining
    February 6th, 2008 @ 8:02 am

    “The study examines data from the United States, Japan and Spain on everything from backpacking to duck hunting…that correlated a decline in visits to U.S. National Parks with an increase in television, video game and Internet use…”

  2. Curious Cat Science Blog » Molecular Action May Help Keep Birds on Course
    May 5th, 2008 @ 6:50 pm

    “Four decades after scientists showed that migratory birds use Earth’s magnetic field to orient themselves during their seasonal journeys, researchers have at last found a molecular mechanism that may explain how they do it…”

  3. Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog » The Great Sunflower Project
    May 11th, 2009 @ 3:40 pm

    […] Monarch Butterfly Migration – Solving the Mystery of the Vanishing Bees – Volunteers busy as bees counting population – The […]

  4. Curious Cat Science Blog » Backyard Scientists Aid Research
    May 26th, 2009 @ 9:16 am

    Great stuff. And you can get involved if you want. Just follow the links or search around the internet to find projects that interest you…

  5. Curious Cat Science Blog » The Billion-Bug Highway In the Sky
    July 16th, 2010 @ 8:40 am

    “there are 3 billion insects passing over your head in a summer month, he was talking about his survey in Great Britain. Closer to the equator, he says, the numbers should rise…”

  6. Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog » Monarch Migration Research
    July 26th, 2010 @ 6:57 pm

    “Biologists had suspected that monarchs fly back from Mexico west-to-east over the Appalachians, but no evidence existed to support the theory. ‘Ours is the first proof of longitudinal migration’…”

  7. Citizen Science » Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog
    April 1st, 2012 @ 2:47 pm

    […] regular people help by collecting data (counting birds, documenting plant growth [time of year], migration data, weather data…) sharing knowledge with scientists who ask, sharing their computer to be used […]

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