Monarch Migration News: June 16, 2016
By Elizabeth Howard
From 10 acres of winter habitat in Mexico, monarchs have now expanded across 1 billion acres of breeding habitat. How many generations will they produce where you live?

Monarch Butterfly Egg Taken by Ant

"Saw a loner gliding around milkweed. Spotted a second one the next day farther east in the county."
Conrad Vispo  Hudson, New York   June 7, 2016

News: Expanding Eastward
After colonizing most of their breeding range, the first migrants reached Plymouth, Massachusetts this week.

"We were in the courtyard at our school and I was looking under a leaf and I found one monarch egg," reported 3rd grade teacher Mr. Albert from South Elementary.

Later Start
The later arrival in the east means a later beginning to the breeding season there than in the central region. For example, the butterflies that began breeding in Massachusetts this week are 3 weeks behind those in Minnesota — that's almost enough time for a full monarch generation to develop.

How Many Generations?
Use this calendar to predict the timing and number of generations where you live. Watch for butterfly numbers to build each time a new generation emerges. The population will be at its peak when fall migration begins in August.

No Monarchs Yet?
The migration is approaching its northern extent, but many people have still not seen one. Has the wave of migration already passed without you seeing a monarch? If sightings have been reported from your region monarchs are present, but they may be hard to detect because they're so few in number. You may not see one until the population builds with the next generation.

The migration map shows this phenomona. After the leading edge passes, sightings fill in and become more concentrated. Watch for this to continue as more and more people see their first monarch.

"Today was the first day I saw a monarch butterfly in my garden. I know it is extremely late, but I did not see one this spring." June 14, Arlington, TX.

Monarch Butterfly Egg in Massachusetts
Eastern Egg
Michael Albert

Monarch Butterfly Laying Eggs in Massachusetts
Breeding Begins
Katie Hone

Monarch Butterfly Calender Wheel for Generations
Count Generations

Research News: The Texas Butterfly Effect

How can scientists better understand summer monarch butterfly populations in the Midwest? Check spring weather in Texas. Higher Midwest populations are associated with cooler than average temperatures and average to above average precipitation in Texas in spring.

"Spring weather conditions in Texas primarily drive summer abundance of monarchs in Ohio and Illinois, as opposed to localized climate effects in the summer breeding areas," said co-author Elise Zipkin.

Elise Zipkin and Sarah Saunders

Saunders and Zipkin


Journal: A New Generation

With its wings and legs tightly bound, how does a monarch butterfly emerge from the chrysalis?

Journal Page and Weekly Journal

Monarch and Chrysalis
Report Your Sightings
Monarch butterfly migration map Map of milkweed emergence: Spring 2016 Monarch butterfly migration map
First Adult
report | map | list
report | map | list
Monarch butterfly migration map Monarch butterfly migration map

After first sightings, continue to report all monarchs — adults, eggs, and larvae

First Egg
report | map | list
First Larva
report | map | list

Evaluation: 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!

Journey North Evaluation
Next Update June 23, 2016