Monarch Butterfly Update: June 2, 2011
Please Report
Your Sightings!

Journey North's other migrations have come to an end, but the monarchs are still traveling! Watch for weekly updates until the migration is complete, sometime in late June. No matter when you see your first monarch, please report your sighting! This week, meet some of the monarch's neighbors. What kinds of creatures inhabit the milkweed patch, and which are the monarch's enemies?

This Week's Update Includes:

Image of the Week

Creatures in the Milkweed Patch

Meet the Neighbors!


News: Monarchs Reach Canada's Maritime Provinces!

"Beats the record by at least a month," wrote a New Brunswick observer. In Nova Scotia, the first monarch sighting was reported just 4 days later. Find our two Maritime province sightings on this map and measure the distance to Mexico. It has taken the monarchs two generations, but look how far they have traveled!

Knowing Without Seeing
Several people reported their first monarchs last week, but said they never saw one. What was the sign that monarchs had arrived? Here's the answer spelled backwards: Hcranom Sgge!

Sightings per Week: They're Climbing!
Over seventy sightings were reported last week, and we've received a dozen a day since May 31st. What do you predict next week's total will be? (See graph.)

Central Region Sees Surge
A surge clearly occurred during the past week in Ontario, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan. These citizen scientists caught monarchs on the move:

  • "My students have observed monarchs at many different places around our state!" wrote a 4th grade teacher from Salk Elementary in Macomb, Michigan.
  • First graders at Lien Elementary in Amery, Wisconsin saw monarchs while at recess on the playground
  • "I saw a Monarch flying while I was playing softball," wrote a 4th grader from St. Wenceslaus School in New Prague, Minnesota.

Who's Missing Monarchs?
The monarchs have now returned to all but two eastern US states and four Canadian provinces. Compare the latest migration map to this monarch range map. Can you find the eastern states that are still missing monarchs? What about the four Canadian provinces?

Monarch Butterfly Larva Eating Eggshell After Hatching

Watch Out Little Monarch
Image by Marcy Cunkelman


Sightings per Week

Sightings per Week
They're Climbing!


Explore: Who's Who in the Milkweed Patch?

Meet some of the creatures that live in the milkweed patch. How do they make a living? There are carnivores, herbivores, nectivores, and scavengers. There are predators and parasites, too. Look closely at the pictures in the photo gallery, read the descriptive clue cards, and see if you can figure out who's who!

Did you know?

  • The chemicals in milkweed do not fully protect monarchs from all of their enemies. Monarch eggs and larvae have many predators and parasites.
  • Scientists estimate that fewer than 10% of monarch eggs survive past the first instar larval stage.

Photo Gallery
Clue Cards

Book Review: Monarchs, Milkweed and More

"The milkweed community is a stage for a season-long series of dramas involving a cast of fascinating characters," begins this field guide. The pages that follow are packed with images of the invertebrates who lives their lives, generally unnoticed, right beneath our noses.

This handy guide introduces the reader to the kinds of creatures that come and go from the lowly milkweed patch, each with a job to do: herbivores, nectivores, scavengers, decomposers, predators, and just plain passers-by. But beyond a simple identification guide, this book portrays the complex interactions between these backyard creatures and delivers what's promised, "A fascinating glimpse into the complex interdependence of life on our planet."

Book Review

Milkweed, Monarchs and More
by Rea, Oberhauser and Quinn.

The Migration: Maps and Journal Page
Pre-migration map: Winter monarch butterfly sightings (January or February) Map of milkweed emergence: Spring 2011 Journal Page
How far from Mexico?

Let's find out when and where monarchs and milkweed appear this spring.

Annual Evaluation: Please Share Your Thoughts

Please take a few minutes to complete our Annual Evaluation. With your help, we can document Journey North's reach, impact and value. Thank you!

The next Monarch Migration Update will be posted on June 9, 2011.