Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Monarch Butterfly

The monarch is sort of the robin of the butterfly world; so commonplace it is easy to take for granted, but beloved by everyone, and it would be missed greatly if it were not here (which, if habitat destruction in Mexico continues, may happen). In August, the monarchs start packing their bags, and then slowly move south; they travel up to 2,000 miles to Mexico for the winter, congregating in huge numbers in certain wooded mountains in that country. It absolutely amazes me that any of them make it, when you consider the number of busy roads they must cross on their journey; I always feel badly when I'm driving along and one of them flutters helplessly in front of my car... it was on a two thousand mile journey, and I whapped it before it even got out of Iowa. I've tried to make up for it by having a couple of patches of milkweed.
You can tell the male and female apart (the butterfly above happens to be a male) by the female having thicker black lines on the upper wings... once you see the difference, it's easy to tell even from a distance.
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I have had the same thought-why did you fly right in front of me??
Your butterfly boy is wonderful!!
I've seen these guys floating around, but haven't been able to get out and get any shots. Great photo and great info., as usual!
Have you ever had the monarchs roost on your land? I live in Cedar Falls and would love to see them roosting as they migrate. I'm thinking they have headed more your way at this point. You can order a monarch waystation seedkit and get all of the plants that attract monarchs at
Sissy... I can't help it; I flinch every time it happens.

Moe... I need to get a comparison shot of the upper wings, showing also the pheromone spots on the male.

Wheedance... I think we've had some passing through; you can see them flying over the pond heading south.

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