Let's explore what this pattern could mean about monarch migration in the East.

  • It looks like many monarchs travel down the Appalachian Mountains.
  • It looks like many monarchs travel southward along the Atlantic Ocean, hugging the coastline. (See map.)
  • It looks like monarchs stop following the coast when they reach the North Carolina border.
  • It looks like monarchs turn westward and follow the southern Appalachians!
  • It looks like very few monarchs travel into the region circled, a distinct region called the "South-Atlantic Coastal Plain."
Later during the migration, the monarchs will appear to turn and follow another mountain chain. Are they doing the same thing here? We asked Monarch Biologist Dr. Lincoln Brower to have a look.

“This is fantastic,” he said. “The monarchs probably have been doing this all along and we just never knew it. This is a wonderful example of how students and the public can contribute to understanding the monarch migration!!”

FEW monarchs
South Atlantic Coastal Plain
MANY monarchs
Southern Piedmont

("Physiographic" The character and distribution of landforms.)

Maps by: Partners in Flight