The Monarch Butterfly Migration

Monarch butterfly

Monarch butterfly

Fanasy Nelson, Staff Reporter

Spring has come upon us and you know what that means: the beautiful butterfly monarch.

Each spring, millions of monarch butterflies leave their summer breeding grounds in the northeastern U.S. and Canada and travel some 3,000 miles south to Mexico to escape the cold of winter, a migration that is one of the greatest natural events on this earth.  Many of the butterflies end up in Monterey, which is known for this migration path during the spring months.

There are many different reasons as to why the butterflies migrate toward the new places. Migrating to new places ensures the butterflies their survival and their food source. Monarch butterflies are not able to survive the cold winters of most of the united states.

During its migration, each butterfly relies on the huge volume of food it ate when it was a caterpillar for fuel. Monarchs smell with their antennae. Nectar and water are tasted by the sensory hairs on their legs and feet.Once the Monarch butterfly is hatched, it only lives for approximately two to six weeks.

Known for their bright and beautiful colors, there is a much more deeper reason as to why they have those certain colors.  The monarch butterfly’s bright colors serve as a warning to predators that they are poisonous, and they should attack at their own risk.  Monarch caterpillars feed on milkweed. Many species of milkweeds are toxic; therefore, making Monarchs toxic to predators, causing a bad taste or vomiting. A female monarch usually lays between 300 and 500 eggs over a two- to five-week period.