Monarch Migration Update: June 3, 2010
Please Report
Your Sightings!

Three months, two generations, three countries, three primary languages, and hundreds of miles. Look how far the monarchs have come! This week, take a month-by-month look at the migration and compare this year to past years. Also: Look at the holes on the monarch caterpillar. What do you suppose they are for?

This Week's Update Includes:

Image of the Week

Monarch butterfly caterpillar

Have you noticed?

News: Mariposa Monarca to Monarch Butterfly to Papillon Monarque

They began as mariposas monarcas in Mexico. They became monarch butterflies when they crossed the United States and entered Canada. This week they became papillons monarques when they appeared in French-speaking Canada. Three sightings were reported from the Montreal region of Quebec. Here's one:

"Première de l'année! Ce soir un specimen tres frais se cherchant un endroit pour passer la nuit..." ("First of the year! Tonight, a very fresh specimen was looking for a place to spend the night...")

In Manitoba, a male monarch discovered a purple patch of flowering chives. Take a look at the photo and see the condition of this butterfly's wings. It has probably flown over 1,000 miles.

Also Noteworthy:

  • Notice the way the migration can appear to "miss" small states like Rhode Island and Connecticut. Why do you think this happens?
  • Why did it take so long for West Virginia to report a sighting? "Could it be that the Appalachian Mountains are cooler in the spring, or are there no Journey North observers in the state?" asked a teacher who lives there.
  • We're still waiting for sightings from three northern New England states. Here are their names spelled backwards. Can you find them on the map? Tnomrev, Wen Erihspmah, and Eniam.

Data visualizations: Two Ways to Look at the Migration
This week, look at these two ways to visualize the migration and compare one year to the next. The bar graph and migration maps both show 5 years in time, and both show changes during the three months of migration (March, April and May). In what ways are the maps more helpful to you? What do you see more clearly on the bar graph than on the maps?

Monarch butterfly nectaring on chives in Manitoba
Monarch in Manitoba After 1,000 Mile Journey North
Photo: Frank Matheson

Sightings by Week

Bar Graph
A month-by-month, year-by-year look at spring migration.

Monarch migration map: animation

A month-by-month, year-by-year look at spring migration.

The Migration: Maps and Journal Page 



This year's small monarch population means spring sightings are especially important. Please help us document when and where monarchs and milkweed appear this spring.

Year-end Evaluation: Please Share Your Thoughts

Please take a few minutes to complete our Year-end Evaluation. With your help, we can we document Journey North's reach, impact and value. We need comments like yours to keep the program going and growing.

More Monarch Lessons and Teaching Ideas!

The Next Monarch Migration Update Will Be Posted on June 10, 2010.