Mariposa Monarcha Reserva de Biosfera

Angangueo Travel Blog

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Each November approximately 300 million Monarch Butterflies begin to migrate from East of the Rocky Mountains. they head south from Canada and the United States to take refuge in a high coniferous forest approximately 75 miles northwest of Mexico City in the northeastern portion of Michoacan State, Mexico. This is a journey for some individual butterflies of 3,000 miles. Day trips from Morellia and San Miguel are possible. The 2 best access points are El Rosario & Chincua. There are unusual vibes at both due to the conflict with loggers and the biosphere. The visit requires walking several miles up to 11,000' in elevation over rough trails. Horses are for hire if needed at Chincua. As recently as 1975 the purpose and destination of this migration was a mystery. The butterfly viewing season begins in December and runs until April.
The peak population is present in January and February. Once the Monarchs reach these high forest they form colonies, occupying a small geographic area. They are at times so dense on the tree that they make the tree appear to be black and orange. To date seven colonies have been identified in the State of Michoacan. Only two of the colonies are open to the public.  The butterflies will spend the next several months resting and recharging to prepare for their trip back north in the spring.   AMAZING MONARCH BUTTERFLY FACTS

1) Some Monarch butterflies migrates over 3,100 kilometers, without previous knowledge about the location for their winter vacation.

2) A male Monarch butterfly is distinguishable from females by the thin vein pigmentation and swollen pouches on the hindwings. The swollen pouches are scent glands.

3) The monarch butterfly has a single food source during its larval stage, milkweed.

4) Milkweed contains a chemical that apparently tastes awful to birds. I bet birds can eat just one Monarch butterfly!!!

5) A Monarch butterfly caterpillar eats so much and so rapidly that it will sheds its skin four times within two weeks of hatching.

6) A Monarch butterfly caterpillar at two weeks of age can weigh 3,000 times of its weight at birth.

7) Once  the Monarch butterfly has emerged from its pupa, fluid  must be pumped into the wings and permitted to harden before fight.

8) Some scientist believe that Monarchs use the magnetic field of the earth and/or the position of the sun to find their way to Mexico.

9) Once the female Monarch lays her eggs (about 400) on a milkweed plant she abandons her young.

10) A Monarch butterflies that breed early in the summer die within three to six weeks. If a Monarch butterfly does not breed before late August,  its reproductive maturity will be postponed and it can live up to nine months. It is these "late maturing" individuals that migrate from Canada to Mexico.

joehobo says:
Posted on: Nov 10, 2010
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photo by: geokid