Small stamp (11k)


Subject: question 
From: "Holly"
Date: Fri, 27 Jun 1997 14:37:47 -0500 

Some friends of mine and I were debating the life expectancy 
of one monarch butterfly.  Do you know how long they live and
how far they go in one day (after they turn to butterflies)? 

Thank you.


Hi Holly, It's nice to hear the debate about the monarch continues. I have become more and more fascinated with the monarch each day. Well I didn't know the answers, so I went searching (I learned a little more in the process). Do they have monarchs where you live? I have seen so many in the last few weeks here in Minnesota. Thanks for asking the questions. -karen __________________________________________________ Back to your questions: I looked on the Journey North site in the Ask the Expert area and found this response from Dr. Karen Oberhauser. Karen is an entomolgist who studies the monarch butterfly. Q. How long do Monarchs live? A. This depends on when they live (summer or winter), and also varies a lot among individuals (just like it does it humans). In the summer, adults live from 2 to 6 weeks in captivity, and probably about that long in the wild. The ones that migrate live longer, from August or September to about April (although a lot die before this). When people hear this, they say they'd rather be a migratory monarchs, but these butterflies probably face many more risks, and are likely to have a smaller chance of getting offspring into the next generation. The times I told you only refer to the adults. It takes them about a month to go from the egg to adult stage, so we should really add four weeks to those times. After all, we count human childhood in the human lifespan! Q. How far do monarchs travel in one generation? A. It depends on the generation. The ones that emerge in the late summer and fall in the northern US will travel all the way to their overwintering sites in Mexico, and then about half way back in the spring. How far is this (measure it on a map)? Other generations don't travel so far. __________________________________________________ And then I found this in a children's book: Monarch Butterfly - By: Gail Gibbons "Sometimes they fly up to 12 miles an hour and almost 100 miles in one day. There could be over 1,000 butterflies traveling together." __________________________________________________ Karen Wilkinson ( Content Developer, Science Learning Network Science Museum of Minnesota 30 East Tenth Street St Paul, MN 55101 612-221-2512 (phone) 612-221-4528 (fax)