Monarch Migration News: April 30, 2015
By Elizabeth Howard
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A monarch lays eggs in your garden. What happens next?

Kim Bailey     April 22, 2015

News: A New Generation
As the monarchs from Mexico fade away we're waiting for signs of the next generation. A surge in sightings will occur when the new adult butterflies emerge and migrate northward.

Eggs Across the Landscape
Each female lays eggs as she travels along the migration trail. People are often surprised by the large number one monarch lays:

"A sweet little Miss flew in from seemingly nowhere and promptly began to oviposit on almost every mature and newly-planted milkweed in our garden. How nice of her to give Cason Lane Academy charge of her children!"
Ms. Linell Cason, Lane Academy, Murfreesboro, TN

How Many Eggs?
After a single mating, a female can lay eggs throughout her lifetime. Each butterfly lays hundreds of eggs — as many as 700 have been counted. Because she dedicates her energies to egg-laying, the female only lives a few weeks during this stage of her life.

Dr. Jim Edson of the University of Arkansas conducted an experiment. He found a monarch one March and brought her into his lab. Each day, he counted the number of eggs that she laid. Explore the chart to see his results.

Looking Ahead
It takes about one month for a monarch to develop from an egg to an adult butterfly. Because the migration entered Texas during the first week of April, we may see the first adult butterflies as early as next week.

Monarch butterfly egg
Jay Cossey
Graph: Monarch butterfly eggs: How many eggs can one monarch butterfly lay?
How Many?
Marueen Raquet
Monarch Butterfly Life Cycle
Egg to Adult
Spotlight: How Does a Population Grow?
If every egg survived, the monarch population could grow to a billion butterflies in only four generations. What limiting factors keep the population from growing exponentially?

Maps: Report Your Sightings
Monarch butterfly migration map Monarch butterfly migration map Map of milkweed emergence: Spring 2015
What to Report First Adult
report | map | list
report | map | list
Monarch butterfly migration map Monarch butterfly migration map Monarch butterfly migration map
First Egg
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First Larvae
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Other Observations
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Journal and Activities
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Next Update May 7, 2015