Subspecies and protection

Paul Cherubini cherubini at
Sun Oct 15 20:28:57 EDT 2000

Heath, Fred wrote:

> your suggestion that the Bishop butterflies have a 
> tougher time getting to coastal southern California is 
> certainly not true. These Monarchs probably moved south 
> along the eastern flank of the Sierras.

Good point and I thought of that. So in a subsequent year I 
did a more conclusive test. I released a few hundred monarchs 
during the first week of November further north at Minden,
Nevada (just south of Reno). A few weeks later one of these was 
found alive on the CENTRAL California coast at Morro Bay, 
Calif. So there is little doubt this butterfly went right over the
snow capped 10,000 - 11,000 foot central Sierras. Another
butterfly from this Minden release was found in Santa Barbara.

Art Shapiro reported a monarch flying at Carson Pass, 8,593 feet in 
the central Sierra on Oct. 28 (in the News of the Lep Society about
10 years ago). Also, Derham Giuliani has seen a few monarchs 
flying through 11,000 foot passes in the southern Sierra as
late as Nov. 12. As long as the weather is sunny monarchs can fly 
for sustained periods when temperatures are in the 40's & 50's
and can survive brief overnight temperatures into the low 20's.

Walt Sakai had a bizarre recovery of a tagged monarch in March
at the Mammoth Mountain ski resort in the southern Sierra's.
This butterfly was found dead in the snow by a skier at
around 9500 feet elevation. The butterfly had apparently 
flown over the Sierras from a Santa Barbara overwintering 
site where it was tagged.

> Interestingly, I found and reported one (after reading its letter
> and numbers with binoculars) of these bright orange-tagged 
> butterflies that year in my backyard in Simi Valley (southeast 
> Ventura Co.) within two weeks of the release.

Yep, that was one of the Bishop, CA butterflies. Small world.

> On a related note, Paul mentioned that Mark Walker found
> a winter roost in Anza-Borrego. Could Paul or Mark 
> enlighten me as to exactly where that was? 

I havn't been there so I hope Mark can tell us the exact location

Paul Cherubini

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