Monarch Migration News: February 19, 2015
By Elizabeth Howard
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Spring is approaching for monarchs in Mexico, but last week's hail storm proved that winter's not over yet.

Monarch Butterflies
Estela Romero

News: Winter Storm
In our last update we reported that a critical time of the overwinter season was passing. Then came Estela Romero's report of a hail storm:

"Last Thursday, February 12th we had a sudden, quick, and intense hail storm. It hit a rather small area that included the Sierra Chincua. El Rosario and the communities around Angangueo were untouched.

"I met biologist Felipe Martinez at the Chincua colony on Sunday. He said there was some mortality of monarchs that afternoon and more overnight due to freezing temperatures. He showed me a picture of some monarchs grounded by the storm."

Surviving Storms
Snow and hail are not uncommon for monarchs in the wintertime, and the butterflies can survive. If they can stay dry, they are less likely to freeze. If they can climb off the forest floor, they can avoid exposure to predators, rain, dew, frost and sub-freezing temperatures.

After a storm, the forest floor can be alive with shivering monarchs, warming their muscles so they can climb to safety.

Monarch Butterflies
Thursday's Hail Storm
Monarch Butterflies
Grounded Butterflies
Monarch Butterflies
Climbing to Safety
Elizabeth Howard, 2002
Ask the Expert: Opens Friday
What do you wonder about monarchs? Get your questions ready for Dr. Karen Oberhauser.


Monarch Butterflies
Conservation News

NBC News: Effort to Save Monarch Gets Boost
The monarch once a common sight across the country, their numbers have dropped off dramatically. Now major effort underway to save them before too late.

Blog: Q & A with Dr. Lincoln Brower
Dr. Brower talks ethics, endangered species, milkweed and monarchs.

How you can help monarch butterflies
Maps: Report Your Sightings
Monarch butterfly migration map Monarch butterfly migration map Map of milkweed emergence: Spring 2015
What to Report First Adult
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First Egg
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First Larvae
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Other Observations
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Journal and Activities
Next Update February 27, 2015