Monarch Migration Update: May 23, 2013
Please Report
Your Sightings!
Report Your Sightings
Clear northward movement at last! Also this week, look closely look at the caterpillar that becomes the monarch butterfly.

This Week's Update Includes:

Image of the Week
Monarch Caterpillar
Photo: Elizabeth Howard
News: A Week of Firsts
First for Seven States
Eight states had first-for-the-state sightings during the past week! People from Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, New York and Pennsylvania all reported monarchs for the first time.

First Jump Northward
Look at the week's change on the map. This is the first time we've seen a clear advance into the north. Monarchs have now reached latitude 42˚N across the north.

First Time So Few
Although the migration advanced clearly last week, only 16 sightings were reported. Sightings have been fewer this May than ever before. Here is a 5-year comparison:

# Sightings Reported in May
as of May 23 each year
2013 56
2012 458
2011 168
2010 232
2009 126

First of Four Generations
The size of this spring's first generation appears to be small. We simply aren't seeing numbers this May that suggests high reproductive success in the south. However, during the breeding season ahead, monarchs will produce at least three more generations. The final generation will migrate to Mexico, and those butterflies will comprise next winter's population. Let's hope for optimal habitat conditions in the breeding season ahead.

Monarch Butterfly in Texas
One of the Last
Image: Gregg Lee
Migration Map
Monarch Butterfly eggs in New Jersey
First of Four
Video Clips: Eating Milkweed
Observation is the first step in the scientific process. Video clips provide an opportunity for students to make authentic scientific observations. With video, you can replay an event, see it in fast or slow motion, freeze action, make time-lapse observations, document changes, and focus on details.

Video Clip: Monarch Butterfly caterpillar eating milkweed Video Clip: Monarch Butterfly caterpillar eating milkweed Video Clip: Monarch Butterfly caterpillar eating milkweed
Caterpillar Feast Close-up Chewing Slow-motion Munching
The Migration: Maps and Journal
  • Please report your monarch and milkweed sightings.
Monarch butterfly migration map Map of milkweed emergence: Spring 2013 What I see, What I wonder

(map | animation | sightings)
(map | animation | sightings)
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Next update May 30, 2013