Seafaring Monarchs...

Woody Woods woody.woods at
Sat Jul 20 12:17:48 EDT 2002

In Costa Rica at some sites where altitudinally migrating butterflies
regularly battled headwinds, they were often found flying close to the
ground where the wind speed was lower. I wonder whether that is what was
going on the monarchs you saw?


William A. Woods Jr.
Department of Biology
University of Massachusetts Boston
100 Morrissey Blvd
Boston, MA 02125

Lab: 617-287-6642
Fax: 617-287-6650

> From: mbpi at
> Reply-To: mbpi at
> Date: Fri, 19 Jul 2002 18:30:21 -0500
> To: LEPS-L at
> Subject: Seafaring Monarchs...
> I had forgotten to mention (as Paul Cherubini brought up) that the
> pelagic monarchs I saw were flying lower than the boat I was on, maybe a
> couple of feet above the water...
> Lake Michigan is expansive and the western shores of the state of
> Michigan cannot be seen unless one is high up on a skyscraper's
> observation deck.  I knew that butterflies could alight on water
> temporarily, providing a big wave didn't saturate them, as I assured the
> other passengers who were concerned about their progress.  When I worked
> in the butterfly tent, I often scooped seemingly "dead butterflies" off
> the surface of the landscaped pools, only to have them "spring to life"
> after their wings dried out!
> Still, I wondered if maybe they were "returning" monarchs, i.e. a late
> brood heading to their Michigan origins...since it is much too early for
> them to be heading south?
> They are, indeed, a marvel!
> M.B. Prondzinski
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