How Much Fuel Do Monarchs Burn?
Calculating the Energy Costs of Flight
Article | Activity


Biologist Dr. David Gibo measured how much ________ monarchs use during different types of flight. His findings show the benefit monarchs can have when traveling with the wind.

Flap or Glide?
Dr. Gibo's experiment compared the energy a monarch burns during flapping flight and soaring/gliding flight.

A Full Tank of Fuel
The experimental monarchs started with ________ mg of stored fat. Dr. Gibo measured how long the monarch could fly with this amount of fuel.

Flapping Flight
Flapping flight is hard work. When a monarch flaps its wings it burns its fuel quickly. The experimental monarchs ran out of fuel after ________ hours of flight.

Soaring/Gliding Flight
When monarchs flew without flapping they could travel ________ hours on that single tank of fuel. Soaring/gliding flight is very efficient. Monarchs can travel almost ________ times longer on the same amount of fuel.

Flight Study Results
A monarch with 140 mg of fat to burn could fly for:
44 hours Flapping

1,060 hours

Soaring & Gliding

Wind and Migration
Dr. Gibo's study confirms why the ________ is such an important factor during migration. Monarchs can save energy by traveling when the winds are favorable.

"The direction and strength of the ________ largely determine the progress of the migration," says monarch biologist Dr. Bill Calvert.

Dr. David Gibo