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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

doing the impossible

Araku Valley
Start by doing what's necessary, then what's possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible." - Francis of Assisi

The Magnificent Migration of the Monarch
Did you know...

* Some eastern monarchs travel nearly 2,000 miles to reach their overwintering grounds in central Mexico.
* Monarchs in the western US migrate to California, while monarchs in the eastern part (roughly east of the Rockies) migrate to central Mexico. Some eastern monarchs overwinter in Florida and remain reproductive throughout the winter.
* The overwintering populations in central Mexico numbers in the tens of millions. The number fluctuates each year.
* These lightweight insects cluster in such large groups on tree branches that the branches bend downward with the weight of the butterflies!
* Monarchs enter a reproductive diapause while overwintering. They don't begin laying eggs again until spring.
* Monarchs are the only species of butterfly that participate in a true migration. They migrate south, then when spring arrives, return northward to reproduce.
* Monarchs make this trip without ever having been "taught" how to do so! Those that migrate are the descendants of those that made the trip the year before...In people terms, think great-grandchildren or great-great grandchildren.
* The location of the overwintering grounds in central Mexico was only discovered about 25 years ago.
* Monarchs that have been raised and released far from their "birthplace" have been tagged and discovered in the overwintering grounds. They do not become mixed up and unable to migrate as some extreme sources would propose.
* Monarchs stop and nectar along their journey south.

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