Science Fact of the Week: Butterfly Migration!

6 10 2008

Did you know that birds and bats aren’t the only animals that fly south for the winter? It’s true- even butterflies are known to migrate south when the temperatures get colder!

Every fall, millions of monarch butterflies travel from the mountains of the northern United States down to Mexico. They are the only species of butterfly to travel a distance that far- up to 3,000 miles total! These tiny insects can also travel up to 80 miles a day!

Monarch butterflies migrate south for the winter because their northern habitats become too cold for them to live in and their food, which is nectar from milkweed, becomes sparse in the winter.

When the butterflies arrive in Mexico, they stay in only about 12 locations across the country. The millions of butterflies huddle together and cover Mexico’s trees. Many times, so many monarch butterflies are covering the trees that they are mistaken for fall leaves!

    

You can see a live map of the monarch butterfly’s migration here! Right now the butterflies are traveling through Texas so keep a lookout for monarch butterflies in the sky!

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