Monarch Migration News: June 18, 2015
By Elizabeth Howard
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As migration winds down, the milkweed patch is the place to be. Egg-laying females are looking for milkweed, and males are looking for females.

Monarch Butterfly Nectaring on Milkweed

Darleen Horman

News: Migration Winding Down
Monarchs entered their prime northern breeding grounds almost 4 weeks ago. Evidence of progress to the east during this past week included:
  • First sightings from 109 people, of which 30 were in Ontario.
  • First sightings from Connecticut and Massachusetts.
  • The easternmost monarch at longitude 71°W means the population has now expanded 2,500 miles from Mexico.

Gap in the Map
The migration map shows no sightings in the northeastern breeding range. It's common for the migration to arrive 3-4 weeks later there than in the Midwest. Few monarchs are even detectable until July when the 2nd generation is on the wing. Late arrival means fewer generations, so less time for the population to build. The northeastern region contributes only about 10% of the monarchs in the overwintering population due to the late arrival in springtime and the long distance to Mexico in the fall.

Concentrated in Corn Belt
The egg map shows where breeding is concentrated. In the fall, 50% of the monarchs that make it to Mexico traditionally come from the Corn Belt. This is why agricultural practices that eliminate milkweed in this region are of great concern.

Looking Ahead
Reports like this one from Minnesota are a hopeful sign that the breeding season could be off to a good start there.

"What a difference a year makes. One year ago I was excited to have seen 6 monarchs. This year I have already seen more than 20. Instead of 1 egg and 2 caterpillars on this date last year, I have 80 caterpillars and 40 eggs as of today." 6/12/15 Nowthen, MN

Monarch Butterfly Migration Maps
Males in Milkweed
Darlene Elliott
Viceroy and Monarch Butterfly Identification
Mistaken ID
Shannon Egendoerfer

Monarch Butterflies and Corn Belt

Corn Belt


Spotlight: Monarch Cycles
Monarch Butterfly Life Cycle Monarch Butterfly Annual Cycle Monarch Butterfly Calender Wheel for Generations
Life Cycle Annual Cycle Count Generations
Conservation News

Volunteers: Monarch Larva Monitoring Project
Citizen Scientists needed to collect data to help assess the status of the monarch population recovery by counting monarchs this summer.

How you can help Monarch Butterflies at Sanctuary in Mexico
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
Evaluation: Share your thoughts!
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Journey North Evaluation
Next Update June 25, 2015