The Monarch Butterfly

Texas is an important state in monarch migration because it is situated between the principal breeding grounds in the north and the overwintering areas in Mexico. Monarchs funnel through Texas both in the fall and the spring. During the fall, monarchs use two principal flyways. One traverses Texas in a 300-mile wide path stretching from Wichita Falls to Eagle Pass. Monarchs enter the Texas portion of this flyway during the last days of September. By the third week of October, most have passed through into Mexico. The second flyway is situated along the Texas coast and lasts roughly from the third week of October to the middle of November.

Check out this quick-guide to help identify monarch butterflies

There are three national monitoring efforts geared towards tracking the movements and reproductive activity of monarch butterflies. All three rely upon interested monarch-watchers for their data. For more information, visit the links below.

Journey North engages students in the study of wildlife migration and seasonal change. Citizen scientists track the monarch butterfly migration each fall and spring as the monarchs travel to and from Mexico. Report your own observations of migrating butterflies to real-time migration maps. Share data to help scientists understand how monarchs respond to climate and changing seasons.

The Monarch Larva Monitoring Project involves citizen scientists from across the United States and Canada. Researchers at the University of Minnesota developed this program to collect long-term data on larval monarch populations and milkweed habitat. The focus is on monarch distribution and abundance during the breeding season in North America.

Monarch Watch is a citizen-science project based at the University of Kansas. This project involves volunteers across the United States and Canada who tag individual butterflies to assist scientists in studying and monitoring monarch populations and the fall migration. The tagging program helps answer questions about the geographic origins of monarchs that reach Mexico, the timing and pace of the migration, mortality during migration, and changes in geographic distribution.

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