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Western Monarch Migration Measured: Long Fliers | High Sierra Backpacker

Western Monarch Butterfly Migration Measured: Long Fliers


Alex Wierbinski's picture

By Alex Wierbinski - Posted on 04 July 2018

 

BUTTERFLY NEWS

Segment of Western Monarch Migration Measured

Long Fliers: One Generation's Part?

Monarchs ride west coast winds: Proof of butterfly migration gathered,
Washington State University, June 25, 2018.

WHAT

"...five years and nearly 15,000 tagged butterflies..."

"...proof that Monarch butterflies migrate from the Pacific Northwest to California in late summer and fall, a journey averaging nearly 500 miles."

HOW

"On average, these butterflies averaged almost 40 miles of travel each day."

"...don't know exactly how the butterflies travel that far, they suspect the Monarchs may ride warm air currents called thermals a few thousand feet up in the air, then use the strong upper-air currents to navigate."

HOW MEASURED

"Participants tagged and released 13,778 Monarchs that were raised in captivity and tagged 875 wild Monarchs."

"Butterflies were released from around Washington, Oregon, Idaho and British Columbia."

HOW FAR

"The longest recorded journey was from a butterfly released by James himself in Yakima that was recovered at Tecolote Canyon, near Goleta, California, a straight-line distance of 845 miles."

"On average, the 60 recovered butterflies travelled just shy of 500 miles."

HOW?

"Most scientists think the butterflies descend from their flight in the evening to feed, then eat again in the morning before finding thermals to ride back up, James said."

MONARCH DILEMA

"Monarchs have seen a huge population decline over the last two decades, James said. It's estimated populations have declined approximately 90 percent over that timeframe."

 

Monarch Migration

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Bye Bye Butterfly: Monarch Decline

Monarch butterflies disappearing from western North America

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