How does an insect weighing as little as a paper clip fare in a hurricane? Probably not very well, but the annual migration of monarch butterflies seems to have avoided Hurricane Patricia with a detour to the east.
The butterflies, which are en route to the forests of Michoacán and the State of México, made for ravines of the Sierra Madre Oriental to escape the humidity and strong winds of the hurricane, said Gloria Tavera of the Natural Protected Areas Commission (Conanp).
She told Reuters that the butterfly is very sensitive to changes in humidity.
A monarch researcher in Arizona believes the butterflies moved eastward in response to a change in wind direction brought about by the storm. And with a strong wind, said Gail Morris, it doesn’t take much to blow them into another area.
Another Conanp official said the detour would probably create a delay of several days in the arrival of a large number of butterflies expected in early November.
Millions of monarchs make the annual migration, traveling as far as 4,000 kilometers and arriving in central Mexico in October and November, where they will spend the winter.
Their course change to avoid Hurricane Patricia would have taken them into Nuevo León, but they should quickly be on their way through San Luis Potosí, Guanajuato and Querétaro before arriving in the State of México and Michoacán.
Conanp says its tracking of the butterflies this year has revealed that the populations are in good health.