Monarch Migration Update: October 25, 2012
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A single monarch was spotted at the finish line! Meanwhile migration continues from as far north as Canada. This week, explore migration pathways. Even though it's their first migration, monarchs follow routes previous monarchs have flown.

This Week's Update Includes:

Image of the Week
Mariposa Monarca
Monarch to Monarca
Image: Barbara Messimer

News: La Primera Monarca!
The First Monarch!
From the Monarch Butterfly Reserve office in downtown Zitacuaro, Michoacán came this news on Tuesday:

"Today we saw our first monarch butterfly of the season," reports Felipe Martinez Meza, Assistant Director, Reserva de la Biósfera Mariposa Monarca (RBMM).

Still Waiting in Angangueo
Estela Romero writes in this week's report:

"We are absolutely certain the monarchs are silently creeping towards us! They will appear any day now!"

Slow in Northern Mexico
Northern Mexico's Sierra Madres Mountains funnel the migration and can produce dramatic flights. So far this season, Rocio Trevino's network of observers reports:

"Muy pocas mariposas (very few butterflies)," in the states of Coahuila and Nuevo León.

  • Identify and label the Mexican states on this map.

Low Numbers
Where Texans typically report thousands of monarchs they are seeing hundreds, where hundreds they are seeing tens. Are we witnessing the impact of the drought? Could this year's population be an order of magnitude smaller than in a good year? This unusual season is raising a lot of questions.

Two Texas Flyways
The migration moves through Texas on two primary pathways. Peak migration occurs first in the Central Flyway, but this year reports have been lackluster there. The Coastal Flyway typically peaks later, about the last week of October.

Still Hope for Texas Coast
Keep your eye on the weather map. After a week of south winds, a north wind is finally predicted for Friday. People in the Coastal Flyway have been reporting some movement:

"They are definitely flying through today. They are a ragged-tagged group flying toward their destination, coming through 2-3 at a time..."
Oct. 24, 2012: Houston, TX

Surprising Sighting
Twenty miles off the Louisiana coast in the Gulf of Mexico, a shrimp boat captain made a discovery.


Map: Location of monarch butterfly overwintering region in Mexico
Monarch Wintering Sites
Children near monarch butterfly reserve in Mexico monitor arrival.
Still Waiting!
Celebration On Route
Celebration On Route
Monarch Butterfly Roost in Texas
Low Numbers
Image: Marissa del Rosario

Monarch Butterfly Migration Flyways in Texas

Two Texas Flyways
Water Hyacinth
Surprising Sighting
Image: Wikipedia
Article: Explore the Possible Pathway in Mexico
The direction the monarchs travel is "delightfully confusing!" writes monarch expert Dr. Bill Calvert.

Which Mexican states do the monarchs cross as they travel to their winter home? Why don't the monarchs travel straight south?

Monarch butterfly migration pathway in Mexico
The Migration: Maps and Journal Page
Watch for monarchs that are flying in directional flight, resting at overnight roosts, or refueling at flowers in fields, gardens, or roadsides.


Seeing Monarchs?
Report Weekly!
When you see a monarch, we want to know about it.
Monarch Butterfly Migration Map: All Sightings, Fall 2012 Monarch Butterfly Migration Map: Peak Migration, Fall 2012

Map of Mexico: Which states do monarch butterflies cross during migration?

All Sightings
(map | animation | sightings)
Peak Migration
(map | animation | sightings)
The next migration update will be posted on November 1, 2012.