Do Butterflies Migrate?

Everybody knows that that birds migrate. One examples of this is the painted-lady butterfly. Each springs it travels from Mexico to California, in Europe the same kind of Butterfly crosses the mediterranean in the spring, going from northern Africa to Europe.

When there is a butterfly migration, thousand and even millions, travel together across the sky. The best known of all migrating is the monarch. It spends the winter along the Gulf of Mexico and other southern areas.

In spring, the young female lays her eggs on the milkweed plants that have begun to grow. The caterpillars that hatch from the eggs feed on the milkweed leaves. When the adult Butterflies developed. They fly some distance north.

There they mate and lay eggs on the milkweed that has just begun to grow with the advance os spring. Now this is an interesting kind of migration. Because it means that within a few months time several generations of monarch butterflies travel farther north in search of milkweed.

By the time it is late summer and the monarch butterflies reach Canada, they are not the original ones that started out but descendants of them!

When autumn approaches and cooler weather appears. Those monarch that have survived fly back in great numbers. They make a huge swarm of butterflies in the sky and people have seen them spread out in a warm 20 miles wide! Such masses of butterflies migrate like this years after year and they always follow the same routes.  

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