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Monarch Butterfly Migration Update: October 21, 2005

Today’s Update Includes:

Latest Migration Maps
Make Your Own Map in the classroom!

Migration Sightings
Sightings of Overnight Roosts PEAK
Migration Sightings
Click for live maps and read what each observer saw! Also See
Week-by-week Migration Animation

Highlights From the Migration Trail
What a week! A staggering 193 monarch sightings were reported. Monarchs were seen as far north as Ontario, as far south as Nuevo Leon, and in almost every U.S. state in between. Again the biggest news was from the big state of Texas. For the third week, monarchs continued to stream across Texas skies at rates that amazed anyone watching.

Monarchs were also found roosting and feeding in a curious place:

10/14/05 Nueces River, TX (28N, -98W)
"Almost without fail, monarchs spend the nights in the native Texas Pecan trees by the Nueces River. The ranchers who have been here for years and years think nothing about seeing the monarchs and expect them to be in the pecan trees. They think (whether right or wrong) that there is something on the leaves of those pecans that feeds the monarchs." (Courtesy of Texas Monarch Watch.)

Curious but true, monarchs butterflies do feed in pecan trees. There is a surprising reason for this, but it requires some detective work. Can you solve the mystery?

Migration News From Northern Mexico
While watching a soccer game in Santiago, Nuevo Leon, Cecelia Garza Mena saw her first monarchs of the year. This sighting, from 25 N, is the farthest south of any monarch reported!

"Cuando de pronto observo el paso de las primeras mariposas Monarca, el espectáculo para mi es maravilloso, pues ya las esperaba con ansia," she said.

Last Year One Million, This Year Not One! Dr. Calvert's Lesson
Exactly one year ago, a million monarchs filled the skies near Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico. Dr. Bill Calvert watched with wonder. "The densities were just stupendous; they were just absolutely astounding," he exclaimed at the time. He returned at the same time this year to see what he would find. Alas, he spent a day and a half looking and did not see one single monarch! "The lesson here is one that every monarch migration watcher knows: the monarch migration is fickle and they are sometimes held up by the weather! I suspect two or three days later after the weather cleared that they poured through in the usual manner."

Watching and Waiting at the Over-wintering Sanctuaries
Every year at this time we wonder, will the monarchs actually find this dot on the globe? No monarchs yet, says Estela Romero...

Can You Find the Monarch's Winter Home on the Globe?

Monarchs find this tiny place on planet Earth every year, as if by magic. They know by instinct where to go. They navigate to a place where they have never been before! Click the globe and see if you can find their winter sanctuaries.

Learn the Geography Monarchs Know by Instinct
Humans can't find their way through Mexico by instinct the way monarchs can. Today we'll explore their route. First, you'll need to learn the names and locations of Mexico's states. (Congratulations to Agape Academy for naming all 31 states in their answer to Challenge Question #6!)

Follow the Migration Trail Across Mexico with Dr. Calvert
The monarchs travel along a narrow path in Mexico, due to geographic features. Here Dr. Calvert describes the route the monarchs take. Spectacular satellite images on Google Maps illustrate the wonders of monarch navigation.


Challenge Question #8: Geography and Migration
After reading today's update:

Challenge Question #8:
"Can you name two new things you learned about the geography of Mexico? (For extra credit, explain why monarchs travel where they do in Mexico.)"

Who Saw the Most Monarchs This Week? Migration-rate Math
Follow the link below to a few of this week's observations:

How to Report Your ObservationsReport Your Sightings
Put your monarch news on the map! Please send reports of monarchs flying, feeding, and resting. When you report your observations, include wind speed and direction. For instructions see:

The Next Monarch Migration Update Will Be Posted on October 28, 2005.


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