Monarch numbers/Monarch watch

Chip Taylor chip at
Sat Sep 6 15:54:34 EDT 1997

Concerning the three recent reports of increased monarch numbers by list
members: Here is my assessment of the current situation based on reports
received from Monarch Watchers from areas east of the Rockies.

 Largest Monarch migration in 20 years expected.

  Lawrence, Kan. (AP ..30 Aug 1997)---- A University of Kansas researcher
is predicting
the largest migration of Monarch butterflies in 20 years to pass through the
Midwest this fall.
  The large orange-and-black-winged insects travel annually from the
northern United States and Canada to Mexico for the winter.  Millions make
stops in the central United States.
  "The numbers of adult Monarchs reported from around the country have been
astonishing," said Orley Taylor, Jr., a biology professor.  "During the past
two years we have had very favorable conditions for Monarchs."
  Taylor is the founder of Monarch Watch, a volunteer program created in
1991 and now operating in the United States, Canada and Mexico.  Students
and volunteers collect and tag Monarchs throughout the migration area,
identifying their gender and wing condition and recording weather conditions.
  The monarch population survived last winter very well, and conditions in
the butterflies' summer habitats have been favorable, Taylor said.  Two
consecutive years of mild weather throughout North America are also
contributing to the large migration.
  Wamego, Kan., traditionally has been a "hot spot" for Monarchs, Taylor
said.  "Students in that community tagged more than 12,000 butterflies last
year," he said.
  The butterflies should reach Kansas in early September.Their migration
speed depends on how fast the weather fronts push them, Taylor says.
Monarchs depend on wind currents to help them fly the long distances south.
Monarchs have a life span of seven to eight months.  This generation of
Monarchs will spend the winter in Mexico and then return to North America in
the spring to mate. (to reproduce)
-----EDITOR'S NOTE:  Information on Monarch Watch is available by calling

Monarch Watch
Email:  monarch at
Dplex-L:  send message "info Dplex-L" to Listproc at
Phone:  1 (888) TAGGING (toll-free!) -or- 1 (913) 864 4441
Fax:  1 (913) 864 5321
Snail:  c/o O.R. Taylor, Dept. of Entomology, Univ. of KS, Lawrence KS 66045

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