Saturday, September 29, 2007


The monarch butterflies, Danaus plexippus, are taking the hint and leaving for the south. Suddenly with the change of the season we start to see them flying high in the air instead of just from flower to flower. Ours are on their way to their winter homes in Florida, Texas, and Mexico. They have no problem flying over the ocean if they need to on their way. Monarch butterflies usually only live for about two months around here, basing their life cycle around different varieties of milkweed, genus Asclepias, which their larva devour. Their trip south and vacation there is longer than their average life cycle. Some butterflies will enter a special state called diapause helping them live longer. But the butterflies which return next spring may be several generations removed from the butterflies who left here. Amazing.

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