Note: This item is more than seven years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references.
Monarchs Migrate Off The Beaten Path
AUSTIN, Texas — Observers have spotted tens of thousands of monarch butterflies migrating across the Texas coast from Louisiana to Mexico in what is being described as "the best coastal monarch viewing in the last 15 years."
The majority of monarchs normally migrate through the central flyway, which extends from I-35 west to Midland, Texas, but this year the coastal flyway has been more impressive. Scientists are unsure as to what has caused this change.
"I can’t really say what it is, but it’s always a little bit of a mystery about where they come from and how they travel in migration," said Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Entomologist Mike Quinn. "I would say the coastal flyway is just not well understood."
Nearly all of the monarch butterflies east of the Rocky Mountains in North America travel south through Texas each fall to spend the winter in one spot in the Mexican mountains. Monarchs tend to fly in masses and migrate up to 3,000 miles from northeast North America to central Mexico and half way back the following spring. They are the only butterflies to make such a long, two-way migration every year.
The highest observation numbers are currently north of Corpus Christi and Quinn expects the butterflies to be visible along the coastline for another two weeks. "People should have plenty of opportunities to get out to the coast, parks and refuges to see this wonderful phenomenon," he said.
Monarchs have also been known to set up colonies along the Gulf coast of Texas, and Quinn encourages the public to report such sightings at email@example.com.
Adult monarch butterflies are orange with black veins and white spotted wing borders. Males have a black scent patch on a vein across the middle of the hind wing. Additional information may be found on the TPWD Web site.
On the Net:
Publication — Permission is granted to publish, in whole or in part, any news releases on this page.
Print — A print-friendly version of the news release shows only the release with font sizes set to the browser default.
Plain Text — Plain text versions of TPWD news releases are provided for copying and pasting into editing software.
To copy text into an editing software:
- Click a Plain Text link to display the plain text page in your browser.
- Select all.
- Paste in a document in your editing program.
Permalink — This is a direct link to the news release, omitting the navigation context from the URI.
English/Spanish — News releases posted in both English and Spanish have one of these links.
If you have any suggestions for improving these pages, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and mention Plain Text Pages.