A monarch butterfly fan. A monarch butterfly fan.

Monarch monitoring reveals new routes

The butterflies cross into Mexico along the entire US border, volunteers find

Greater environmental awareness and thousands of volunteers have led to the discovery that monarch butterflies migrate south into Mexico by more routes than previously thought.

Monarchs are expected every year in the fall after following a well known route that brings them into the country through the northern border states of Coahuila, Nuevo León and Tamaulipas.

But volunteers in a network that monitors the insects’ movements have helped establish that isn’t so.

The Monarch Butterfly National Monitoring Network, which has been in operation for three years, now has some 15,000 volunteers who participate in monitoring the butterflies in collaboration with the Natural Protected Areas Commission (Conanp), the National Commission for the Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity (Conabio) and the Mexico office of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

The monarchs actually cross the entire length of the Mexico-United States border, entering the country via the other three border states — Baja California, Sonora and Chihuahua — as well, and continue on their journey through Zacatecas, Aguascalientes, Jalisco, San Luis Potosí, Guanajuato, Querétaro and Hidalgo.

” . . .  That’s what monarchs do,” explained Conanp’s Gloria Tavera Alonso, “they decide where to cross depending on the climate and the wind [currents].”

The acting CEO of WWF México added that because of several climate factors this year’s monarch migration was unusual, and even now some are still in transit over northern states.

But most are already in the forests where they will spend the winter, said Jorge Eduardo Rickards Campbell.

Conanp chief Alejandro del Mazo Maza declared that given the results of observations of the butterflies en route south this year, more of them are expected to arrive and spend the winter than last year.

As the monarchs arrive in the states of México and Michoacán so will the tourists. The 13 butterfly sanctuaries in the Monarch Biosphere Reserve in those two states expect to receive over 200,000 visitors before the insects leave early in the spring.

Source: Milenio (sp)

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