Monarch-hundreds of feet UP and hundred miles OUT

jhimmel at jhimmel at
Wed Sep 8 08:36:16 EDT 1999

Another interesting Monarch tidbit:  While on a pelagic trip, 100 miles out on 
the Atlantic, we saw 2 Monarchs flying over the water.  They weren't 
hitch-hikers from our ship since they were seen from a distance as they 

I had since read that Monarchs can actually rest for a few moments on top of the 
water, providing it's not too choppy.  They open their wings and use the surface 
tension to stay afloat.  The key to this working is to take off before their 
wings become water-logged. I would imagine that the scales play a part in 
keeping their wings dry.  Also, food isn't so much of an issue for migrating 
Monarchs, since they store up most of it at the beginning of their journey.  Not 
a lot to nectar on whilst over the briny!  

John Himmelman
Killingworth, CT USA
jhimmel at

On Tue, 07 Sep 1999, Paul Cherubini <paulcher at CONCENTRIC.NET> wrote:
>MagritAsh at wrote:
>> On Saturday, September 4 at 6:00pm I was at the Observation Deck on the 49th
>> floor of the Carew Tower in Cincinnati, Ohio and I saw a Monarch at that
>> height flying around.  Did not see a tag and did not see if it was Male or
>> Female.  Did not appear wore out.  Surprise to see a Monarch flying at that
>> altitude.
>Prof. David Gibo at the University of Toronto has documented that monarchs 
routinely soar 
>hundreds of feet in the air during their southward fall migration - especially 
during tail wind 
>conditions. He also wrote a paper about how glider pilots (such as himself) 
sometimes see 
>monarchs thousands of feet in the air.
>Paul Cherubini

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