Chris J. Durden drdn at
Sun Mar 24 18:17:51 EST 2002

    The last 11 days have seen more monarchs passing through Austin TX than 
I have ever seen before in spring (34 springs). These monarchs are very 
little faded and most appear to be quite fresh and unscratched. They are 
all of average or larger size. They are of the normal long apex/salmon spot 
migratory phenotype. A good question is how old are they, and where did 
they or their parents spend the winter.
    In light of the reports of disastrous winter kills at the classic 
overwintering sites in the states of Michoacan and Mexico it seems unlikely 
that they should have come from there. Should we be looking for another 
overwintering area in the mountains of Veracruz or perhaps an area of 
winter breeding on the Gulf Coastal Plain analogous to the winter 
population of South Florida? In the past (seventies) I have seen monarchs 
active in southern Tamaulipas in December. These were both long apex/salmon 
spot migratory phenotype and short apex/white spot non-migratory phenotype 
that is there in the summer too.
    Last October in the vicinity of Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, I observed the 
split of the Monarch migratory stream around the Cumbres de Monterrey - the 
west stream passing into Coahuila and the east stream passing down the East 
side and first valley of the Sierra Madre Oriental. There were no Monarchs 
in the interior valleys of the Cumbres de Monterrey while I was there. Does 
the eastern stream swing west in San Luis Potosi, or does it continue 
southward into Veracruz?

..............Chris Durden

At 11:22 AM 3/24/2002 -0800, you (Paul Cherubini) wrote:
>Yes, the northward migrations of Mexican monarchs into Texas
>this spring appear to be rather strong.
>Yesturday Mike Quinn, coordinator of the Texas Monarch Watch,
>made the following comments about the migration on dplex-l:
>" There are more Monarch sightings this year than there were
>at this time last year. Also the number of Monarchs reported
>per sighting is greater this year than last. Some of this is
>probably due to abiotic conditions like prevailing northerly
>winds, but in general there appears to be more Monarchs
>this year than last..."  Mike Quinn
>Journey North map shows the progress the monarchs have
>made so far as of March 21:
>However, will all this good news about the healthy spring migration
>in Texas ever be relayed to the general public?  I doubt it.
>All the citizens of Texas have ever heard are doom and gloom
>predictions in media reports like this one:
>Thursday February 14 06:20 PM EST
>By CHRIS VAUGHN, Fort Worth. Texas Star-Telegram Staff Writer
>Storms in Mexico kill millions of Monarch butterflies
>The mythical, mysterious migration of monarch butterflies through
>the heart of Texas next month will be but a trickle because of a winter
>storm in Mexico that decimated their winter havens.
>Scientists from American universities reported this week that an
>estimated 200 million-plus monarchs lay dead in six-inch
>high piles in central Mexico, more than 70 percent of the butterflies
>in the two largest colonies.
>Researchers said the mortality rates are unprecedented, and they
>warned that the spring migration north - when the butterflies begin
>breeding - will be extremely light and vitally important for the
>monarch's recovery.
>"This critter is being pushed to the limits" said Mike Quinn an invertebrate
>biologist with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. "Hopefully it
>will come back. But we'll be on pins and needles for awhile."
>Like the spring migration in 2001, this year's is "going to be barely
>perceptible" Quinn said because of the winter storm that hit the colonies
>near Mexico City in mid-January.
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