Wednesday, August 19, 2009

They Know The Way

Known for their massive migrations along the CA-Mexico coast, the Monarch butterfly travels over 3,000 miles.
With an average lifespan of only 6 to 8 months, the butterflies must begin their journey each fall ahead of cold weather, which will kill them if they linger.
They begin life as eggs & hatch as larvae that eat their eggshells, and subsequently the milkweed plants on which they were placed. Monarchs depend exclusively on milkweed.
The larvae become beautifully colored black and orange and white adults. Their colorful pattern makes them easily recognizable and warns predators that the insects are foul tasting and poisonous!

Only monarchs born in late summer or early fall make the migration & they make only one trip. By the time next years migration begins, several summer generations will have lived and died. Yet somehow, the generations know the way and follow the same route their ancestors took-sometimes even returning to the same tree!
Scientists are concerned about the eastern population of the monarchs, which is occurring in smaller numbers, it's survival may be threatened by the reduced acreage of milkweed in their summer home. Protect the milkweed!

I was happy to host this particular monarch this past weekend on our butterfly bush!
Love to all,