During the fall season many animals migrate south for the winter. Of course birds are the most well known of migratory animals, but insects can also travel great distances in order to ensure their survival during the winter season. When it comes to migratory insects, perhaps the iconic monarch butterfly is what comes to your mind. There is a good reason for the monarch butterflies popularity. Whenever you see an illustration of a butterfly, it is most likely modeled after a monarch butterfly. These butterflies are well represented in the northern regions of North America during the summer months. During the fall and winter months, these butterflies travel to the southern states where residents of Texas have become well acquainted with these opulent flying insects. These insects are impressive for traveling over great distances. However, both experts and butterfly enthusiasts have been noticing that these butterflies are not traveling southward as eagerly as they normally do around this time of year. There is an obvious reason for this lack of travel. Since temperatures in the northern regions of North America are warmer than usual, monarch butterflies are deciding to stay put for now. But the situation is not that simple.
At Point Pelee National Park in Canada, a professional monarch butterfly-counter, Darlene Burgess, is concerned about the monarch butterfly population. According to Burgess, if the monarchs do not start flying soon, they may die from cold temperatures during their trips to the south. Burgess is not the only one to notice the late takeoff of monarch butterflies this season. Numerous monarchs have been spotted in New Jersey and other regions of the northeast United States this fall. Scientists say that the amount of monarch butterflies currently present in northern regions is more in line with late September or early October, instead of early to mid-November.
Normally monarchs arrive in Mexico by November 1st, so it is surprising to find stragglers still in Canada. Some of these butterflies are not moving because the temperatures in the north are higher than usual. However, there are also plenty of monarch butterflies that were born too late in the season to travel south. Now the cold is sinking in as these butterflies begin to reach maturity. Sadly, many of these monarch butterflies will die. This is troubling to many experts since monarch butterfly populations are already dwindling.
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