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  • Monarch Butterfly Migration Update: April 15, 1997

    We have amazing news to report this week: Monarchs have already reached New Jersey! As you'll find in today's report (see below), they've also been sighted in Virginia and Missouri for the first time.

    We hope you're on the lookout for monarchs in your region. Please report the first one you see this spring to Journey North.

    How to REPORT:
    On the left-hand side of this page you'll see an owl button. Simply press the button and a FIELD DATA FORM will appear. If you have any trouble using this system, send a message to our feedback form We'd be happy to help you!

    Here Texas biologist Dr. Bill Calvert summarizes the spring migration in his state as of this week:

    "A pattern has emerged in the repopulation of Texas by the monarch butterfly. Beginning around the week of the 16th of March, monarchs began to make their appearance in numbers, especially in the Rio Grande Valley and coastal regions. Beginning about the week of the 23 of March they began to appear on Texas prairies and in the hill country. Many people report seeing more than ever this year. Many report mating activity and mating pairs flying in copulatto, others report assemblies of monarchs in wooded areas much like is observed during Fall migrations. The cool, rainy weather seems to have stopped them temporarily. Please be on the look-out for more activity, mating, egg-laying, and assembling as soon as the weather clears. This is truly an exceptional year!"

    Thanks to Cary Elementary School students for their work spotting monarchs over spring vacation! As you will see, they saw monarchs in several places we haven't heard from yet. (We have written to ask these students to estimate the dates, so each of these places can be included in our data.) Here's there report:

    "We are fourth grade students at Cary Elementary School and we have spotted monarchs. Cary Elementary is in Cary, NC. We began sighting monarchs on Monday, March 30 while we were on vacation. Here is a list of places where we have seen monarchs: in a garden at home, in the grass at home, on a tree limb, on a pole outside the movie theater, in a patch of clover, on the playground at school on the edge of the fence, on the ground at Bond Park, in the trees in Charlotte, NC, at a soccer game flying around, at the NC Zoo in Asheboro at an outdoor butterfly exhibit, on the roof of a house, at Myrtle Beach, SC near an arcade, near Garden City, SC, and on a flower.

    "Some of the monarchs we observed were damaged. Some had clipped wings, possibly from stormy weather. Some had scales missing and the wing looked clear. One was missing a whole side of wings. One had an antenna missing. However, most of the butterflies were in very good condition considering how far they have traveled."
    Cary Elementary (caryelem@mindspring.com)

    Monarch Butterflies in Alaska?!
    Our mistake! Thanks to Arkansas' Jim Edson (edson@uamont.edu) for reminding us that the abbreviation for Arkansas is AR and Alaska is AK. In the April 8th monarch report we listed some of the sightings as AK instead of AR.

    Here's something to think about:

    Challenge Question # 11
    What is a 'generation'? Why is an understanding of monarch generations important during the spring migration? For extra credit: How long is one generation of the following animals:

    • Manatees?
    • Bald Eagles?
    • Caribou?
    • Robins?
    • Monarch Butterflies
    • Humans?

    How to Respond to Journey North Monarch Butterfly Challenge Question # 11

    1. Address an e-mail message to: jn-challenge-monarch@learner.org
    2. In the Subject Line of your message write: Challenge Question # 11
    3. In the body of the message, give your answer to the question above.

    Don't Forget!
    Please include the name of your school and your location so we can credit you properly for your answers.

    The Next Monarch Butterfly Migration Update Will be Posted on April 22, 1997.