Green Outdoors: Monarchs heading south

5:11 PM, Sep 24, 2012   |    comments
  • Share
  • Print
  • - A A A +

YORK, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Monarch butterflies are currently migrating to Mexico. Several Mainers have noticed large groups of butterflies gathering together as they make this annual migration, one of the most spectacular in nature.

"They were everywhere!" said Janine DeStefano of Wells who encountered hundreds of butterflies at Fort Foster in Kittery.  "It was very amazing.  I've never seen so many in one place ever.  It was truly awe inspiring."

Colby Professor Herb Wilson told NEWS CENTER Monarchs make a spectacular annual migration beginning in southern Mexico and ending in northern locations such as Maine.  "They're tracing the flowering of milkweeds," Wilson said.  "They might fly to northern Mexico by late April and they will lay eggs and they'll die, but the caterpillars are going to metamorphose and they'll become the next generation. They'll move further north, let's say into Texas and they'll repeat the process again, next generation is into Oklahoma and the next to Pennsylvania and finally about five generations removed, we get our monarchs here in Maine."

There is an indication that Monarchs follow inherited migration patterns.  Studies are being done to verify that Monarchs navigate off the sun and sense magnetic fields.

Wilson and DeStafano encourage people to keep their eyes to the skies as a spectacular migration is taking place.

Wilson quipped that Maine butterflies are among the strongest of them all as they will migrate all the way back to southern Mexico in one generation just as their great great grandparents did last year.


Most Watched Videos