Friday, April 13, 2012

Monarch Migration

Every year, millions of Monarchs descend on just a few different sites on the California coast and the mountains of Mexico to overwinter. There are so many, they literally cover the trees and ground, as the pictures below show. Scientist are learning more about how Monarchs find their way to the overwinter location. From Wikipedia:
"How the species manages to return to the same overwintering spots over a gap of several generations is still a subject of research; the flight patterns appear to be inherited, based on a combination of the position of the sun in the sky and a time-compensated Sun compass that depends upon a circadian clock that is based in their antennae. New research has also shown that Monarch butterflies can use the earth's magnetic field for orientation. The antennae contain cryptochrome a photoreceptor protein that is sensitive to the violet-blue part of the spectrum. In the presence of violet or blue light it can function as a chemical compass, which tells the animal if it is aligned with the earths magnetic field, but it is unable to tell the difference between the magnetic North or South. The complete magnetical sense is present in a single antenna."
 Chemical compass? Now that is awesome!


  1. Wow. That would be incredible to see. Great M day!

  2. i love butterflies, maybe not that many at one time

  3. Those are amazing pictures! I think butterflies are beautiful!

  4. thanks for visiting my blog :)

    Monarch butterflies - WOW what an amazing spectacle, I had no idea. I've been to the butterfly house at the Zoo and am always delighted, now I'm curious to know if in such quantities there is also a hint of a breeze when they fly past (miniscule of course if it's even possible) and do they make any hint of noise with all those wings fluttering?

    Sue: An A-Z of Climate Matters

  5. Lovely colours, but too many flying about for me!

    Stopping by from the A-Z Challenge

  6. I have witnessed smaller gathering of Monarchs than the pictures you posted and it was still's amazing. For the longest time I didn't even know that they migrate or live long enough to migrate. Definitely interesting.

  7. Christine: thank you for highlighting yet another one of God's awesome creations. His works are wonderful!
    Cheers, Sylvie


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