Overlapping Generations and Many Eggs

April 28, 2021 by Team Journey North

At this time of the season, monarch migration is a story of overlapping generations and many eggs. With May at the doorstep, migratory activity will accelerate over the coming weeks. Report your monarch observations to Journey North.

“[Monarch Butterfly] spotted in my backyard.” Photo by: Eryn (Mcallen, TX; 04/24/2021)

Eastern Monarch Population

Overlapping Generations

Journey North observers are reporting monarchs with old and faded wings as well as first generation, fresh-winged monarchs. There is still an overlap of generations as egg laying continues at an increased pace. The leading edge of migration is around latitude 39-40°N, a slight increase from last week. 

Cindy Kirby in Cypress, IL: “Faded female monarch nectaring on dandelion at the cache river wetlands center. On Earth Day too!” (04/22/2021)

Tina in Saint Louis, MO: “Female in our residential garden. She laid many eggs. Over a dozen that we saw. Visited the swamp milkweed.” (04/26/2021)

Chuck in Driftwood, TX:”Mostly overcast day today with limited monarch activity but we saw this beautiful fresh male nectaring on asperula milkweed and trying to catch the last of the sun this evening. The colors were stunning.” (04/26/2021)

Eggs, Larvae, and Milkweed

As the leading edge of migration moves north, reports of eggs and larvae aren’t far behind.

Ann in Lawrence, KS: “Eggs spotted on common milkweed shoots in Monarch Waystation #1.” (04/27/2021)

Karen in Tucker, GA: “4th instar on Common Milkweed.” (04/27/2021)

Warming temperatures in the Midwest are fueling more milkweed emergence.

Heidi in Cedar Rapids, IA: “First common milkweed sprouting today! These warm temps over the next few days should help.” (04/26/2021)

Western Monarch Population

Letter from Gail Morris: Western Monarch Spring Report #9

Out West, monarchs are venturing into more states and milkweed emergence is picking up as well. Gail Morris writes, “It’s exciting to see monarchs moving into Nevada this week with a new sighting in the desert Las Vegas. As they move towards their summer breeding areas, milkweed is emerging ahead of their travels now in Idaho after Utah reported milkweed up recently. After a slowdown in observations, more fresh and new looking monarchs are now emerging, heralding a new generation, an important harbinger of this year’s monarch population in the West.”

Read more of Gail Morris’ Letter: Western Monarch Spring Report #9

Zoom Presentation: Meet Monarch Watch Conservation Specialists

Monarch Watch is a nonprofit education, conservation, and research program based at the University of Kansas that focuses on the monarch butterfly, its habitat, and its spectacular migrations. What is a Monarch Watch Conservation Specialist? Join Gail Morris, Debbie Jackson, Susan Myers, and Carol Clark for a Zoom webinar on Thursday, April 29 at 6:30 pm CDT to learn more. Gail Morris and Susan Myers are Journey North contributors and give much of their time to help monarch organizations fulfill their missions. Register here.

*Correction: Please note that this event is scheduled for Thursday, April 29 at 6:30 pm CDT | 7:30 pm EDT not April 28th as first reported. 

Keep Reporting and Include Photos!

May is almost here and migratory activity is picking up! Report your monarch butterfly observations to Journey North. If possible, please include photos and ensure your photo is properly rotated. Photos help verify reports and we enjoy sharing them with our Journey North community!