Guiness Record for Longest Migration of a Butterfly
by Don Davis of Toronto, Ontario
(More True Stories About Tagged Monarch Butterflies)

September, 2005
I have been tagging monarch butterflies since 1968. I have no idea how many butterflies I have tagged, but it is in the tens of thousands. The Monarch Watch database says I have had 137 recoveries, mostly in Mexico.

I still hold a Guinness Record for Longest Migration by a Butterfly. My Guinness Book record reads as follows:

"A tagged male monarch (Danaus plexippus), released by Donald A. Davis (Canada) at Presqu'ile Provincial Park near Brighton, Ontario, Canada, on 10 September 1988, was recaptured on 8 April 1989 in Austin, Texas, U.S.A., travelling an estimated 2,880 miles, making this the World's Longest Butterfly Migration."
Keeper of the Records
Guinness World Records Ltd

In Dr. Fred Urquhart's opinion, this butterfly had flown to Mexico and was making the return trip back. (Another interesting recovery was one found on an oil rig, 100 miles south of Galveston, Texas.)

Something to Think About
  • Look at this map and follow the travels of this monarch, as described by the scientist. If a person did not know that monarchs fly to Mexico for the winter, how far would that person conclude the monarch had flown?
  • Do you think it's possible that the monarch never went to Mexico? Why or why not?