October 16, 2010 – Monarch

October 16, 2010

I learned today that the Monarch butterfly can travel from the northern parts of the the continent (Canada and northern United States) to central parts of Mexico and back again but it takes several generations.  One generation will live for 8 months and focuses on storing fat (I hear you thinking…what “fat” does a butterfly have).  They will travel from the north to Mexico.  Will hang around there doing nothing but lying on the beach sipping lemonade to gain fat and energy.  Then they will start the journey north.  As soon as they hit milkweed, they will lay their first eggs there and die.  The new offspring will soon emerge and continue the journey north. These live for only 2 weeks as their efforts and energies are all spent reproducing.  I was told it takes 10-15 generations to make the full journey. What is amazing is that the offspring will return to the very spot their forefather started with in the northern areas.  How do they know where that is?  Think about it.

I also learned that the females have thicker veins in their wings than their male counterparts.  The males have thinner veins and have two black dots on the lower parts of their wings that are part of the reproductive process.  Can you tell whether this Monarch is male or female?

Sony DSLR-A100 | f5.6 | 1/20 | ISO100

2 Responses to “October 16, 2010 – Monarch”

  1. Monarchs are so cool.

  2. Ken Salsman Says:

    I do know that the pupae of the Monarch is a lovely velvety lime green colour with a ring of gold spots that glisten like jewels. I did not know the rest of your information with the exception of the migratory route. It makes me wonder how much of our ancestors knowledge, skill, and behaviour is within each one of us…if only we could tap into it more purposefully. Food for thought.

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