Monarch Butterfly Migration Update: March 21, 2001
Today's Report Includes:
Front of the Migration Just Entering Southern Texas
Another dozen migration sightings were reported during the last week, so the leading edge of the migration seems to have arrived in southern Texas. Large numbers of monarchs should move through that region during the next two weeks. It's interesting to compare this spring's migration map to last year's. The first monarchs had already been spotted in Arkansas last spring at this time!
Who's Watching for Butterflies?
(To respond to these questions, please follow the instructions below.)
First Migration Update Sent to Sanctuary Area Schools
When the monarchs arrived in the sanctuaries last fall, the students in the region announced the news. Now your migration observations are being sent back to them! Beginning this week, Journey North is sending a weekly FAX to the town of Angangueo. Our coordinator there, German Medina, is distributing the news to 15 schools in the surrounding mountains. In each classroom there's a migration map where students can track the monarch's journey all the way to Canada. Here is the first update written in Spanish, along with an English translation:
News from the Migration Trail in Northern Mexico
Right now, the monarchs are traveling en masse through northern Mexico. Can you find these Mexican states on your map? Queretaro, Guanajuato, San Luis Potosi, Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon, and Coahuila.
In Saltillo, Coahuila, Rocío Treviño saw her first migrant last weekend: "El sábado 17 de marzo una mariposa monarca visitó mi jardin. Era una hembra, venía un poco maltratada," she reported.
"The spring migration out of Mexico presents deliciously interesting questions, but no answers," says Dr. Bill Calvert. "On their way north, the females are probably laying eggs wherever they can find milkweed, but how much reproductive effort there is before the monarchs reach Texas--nobody knows. It would be wonderful to do transects. There are not many observations from this region, but it's not as if the monarchs are heading for the U.S. border to reproduce! I have the impression that Asclepias curassavica (Tropical milkweed) is found along the water courses; and that the wettest areas don't have as much milkweed as the mesic areas do. As for nectar, the spring flowers are way ahead of the U.S., so there's plenty of nectar. (This all varies with habitat. You have a rain shadow effect on eastern side of the ranges. Prevailing winds are from east, so it's quite wet on the east side. As you go west, you get into pretty severe Chihuahuan desert.)"
Final Field Notes from the Mexican Overwintering Region
Now back in Texas, Bill Calvert sends his final observations made last week in Mexico:
March 21, 2001
Final Field Notes from Eligio Garcia
"As they are migrating, it is a very pretty spectacle," remarks Eligio. "Adios amigos!"
Challenge Question Extravaganza!
Send Your Answers Now
In next week's update, we'll discuss Challenge Questions #1-#13. Review all the questions we've posed about monarch overwintering biology and send us your thoughts:
How to Respond to Today's Monarch Challenge Questions|
IMPORTANT: Please answer ONLY ONE
1. Address an e-mail message to: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Next Monarch Migration Update Will Be Posted on March 28, 2001
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