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May 23, 2016
Is Butterfly Migration Common?
Most of us who have taken the time to “smell the roses” and appreciate nature have been fascinated by the beauty, frailty and mystery of the butterfly. The butterfly has inspired poets and artists and the curiosity of little children.
But what happens to these beautiful creatures during the harsh winter months in many of our northern states? How do they survive or where do they go? Many of the species exist by hiding in their own environment without leaving, while others migrate just as birds do and head south for the winter. Probably the most studied and recognized specie is the Monarch butterfly. It has been known to migrate over a thousand miles during its short life time.
As the weather becomes warmer butterflies from Mexico and the warm southern United States fly north to repopulate their original regions. In the winter months the Monarchs along with a variety of other species the reverse migration heading south is more obvious as sometimes you can see thousands of them at a time. Unfortunately, when this happens many of them end up on the windshield of your car.
Monarchs are the most well-known and probably the most studied butterfly but even today our knowledge is very limited. We do know that the Monarchs west of the Rocky Mountains tend to end up in California while those from the other side of the mountains end up in the mountains of Central Mexico and Florida or the Caribbean.
So to answer our original question do butterflies migrate? Yes, they do, depending on the species.
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