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Migration of the Monarch Butterfly

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Photo: a monarch butterfly purched on a purple flower.
Photo Courtesy of Vincent Cavallo

 

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There are two main populations of monarch butterflies in North America; one in the East and one in the West--new evidence shows that these populations may intermix. Every fall, the monarch begins its migration south to an overwintering site. In the spring the monarch leaves its winter roost and heads northward, about half way back, to lay its eggs on milkweed plants. The offspring of this monarch must continue the journey north on its own. In the fall, this new generation will begin the migration cycle south. To learn more about these amazing creatures, this guide lists selected titles, journal articles and Web sites about monarch butterflies, conservation initiatives, and migration projects.

SELECTED TITLES: MONARCH BUTTERFLIES

Biology and conservation of the monarch butterfly. Edited by Stephen B. Malcolm and Myron P. Zalucki. Los Angeles, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, 1993. 419 p. (Its Science series, no. 38)
   QL561.D3B56 1993

Grace, Eric S. The world of the monarch butterfly. San Francisco, Sierra Club Books, c1997. 114 p.
   QL561.D3G73 1997

Halpern, Sue. Four wings and a prayer: caught in the mystery of the monarch butterflies. New York, Pantheon Books, c2001. 212 p.
   QL561.D3H35 2001

Monarch butterfly biology & conservation. Edited by Karen S. Oberhauser and Michelle J. Solensky. Ithaca, NY, Cornell University Press, 2004. 248 p.
    QL561.D3M66 2004

Pyle, Robert Michael. Chasing monarchs: migrating with the butterflies of passage. Boston, Houghton Mifflin Co., 1999. 307 p.
   QL561.D3P95 1999

Schappert, Phillip Joseph. The last monarch butterfly: conserving the monarch butterfly in a brave new world. Buffalo, NY, Firefly Books, c2004. 113 p.
    QL561.D3S23 2004

Urquhart, Fred A. The monarch butterfly. Toronto, University of Toronto Press, 1960. 361 p.
   QL561.N9U7

Urquhart, Fred A. The monarch butterfly: international traveler. Ellison Bay, WI, Wm Caxton, c1998. 232 p.
   QL561.D3U78 1998

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SELECTED TITLES FOR YOUNGER READERS

Frost, Helen, and Leonid Gore. Monarch and milkweed. New York, Athenum Books for Young Readers, c2008. 1 v. (unpaged).
   QL561.D3F75 2008

Harvey, Diane Kelsay, and Bob Harvery. Melody’s mystery = El misterio de Melodía. Wilsonville, OR, Beautiful America Pub. Co., c1991. 1 v. (unpaged).
   QL561.D3H37 1991

Herberman, Ethan. The great butterfly hunt: the mystery of the migrating monarchs. New York, Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers, c1990. 48 p.
   QL561.D3H47 1990

Lasky, Kathryn. Monarchs. San Diego, Harcourt Brace & Co., c1993. 63 p.
   QL561.D3L36 1993

Pringle, Laurence P. An extraordinary life: the story of a monarch butterfly. New York, Orchard Books, c1997. 64 p.
   QL561.D3P75 1997

Rosenblatt, Lynn. Monarch magic! Butterfly activities & nature discoveries. Charlotte, VT, Williamson Pub., c1998.
96 p.
   QL561.D3R668 1998

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REPRESENTATIVE JOURNAL ARTICLES

Brower, L. P. Understanding and misunderstanding the migration of the monarch butterfly (Nymphalidae) in North America 1857-1995. Journal of the Lepidopterists’ Society, v. 49, Dec. 1995: 304-385.
   QL541.L45

Darrach, Brad. Millions of monarchs. Life, v. 16, Aug. 1993: 50-56.
   AP2.L54715

Dingle, H., and others. Distribution of the monarch butterfly, Danaus plexippus (L.) (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae), in western North America. Biological journal of the Linnean Society, v. 85, Aug. 2005: 491-500.
   QH1.L632a

Halpern, Sue M. A fragile kingdom. Audubon, v. 100, Mar. /Apr. 1998: 36-45, 99-101.
   QL671.A82

Walton, R. K., and L. P. Brower. Monitoring the fall migration of the monarch butterfly Danaus plexippus (Nymphalidae: Danainae) in eastern North America: 1991-1994. Journal of the Lepidopterists' Society, v. 50, Jan. 1996: 1-20.
   QL541.L45

Williams, Jennifer J., Douglas Stow, and Lincoln P. Brower. The influence of forest fragmentation on the location of overwintering monarch butterflies in Central Mexico. Journal of the Lepidopterists’ Society, v. 61, no. 2, 2007: 90-104.
   QL541.L45

Zhu, Haisun, Amy Casselman, and Steven M. Reppert. Chasing migration genes: a brain expressed tag resource for summer migratory monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus). PLoS one, Jan. 09, 2008.
   Published only online: http://www.plosone.org/home.action

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GENERAL INTERNET RESOURCES

Butterflies of North America
http://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/

The Butterfly Website
http://butterflywebsite.com/

Children's Butterfly Site
http://www.kidsbutterfly.org/

Lepidopterists' Society
http://www.lepsoc.org/

North American Butterfly Association
http://www.naba.org/

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SELECTED INTERNET RESOURCES: CONSERVATION

Butterfly Conservation Initiative
http://www.butterflyrecovery.org/

Michoacan Reforestation Fund and La Cruz Habitat Protection Project
http://michoacanmonarchs.org/

Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary Foundation
http://www.mbsf.org/

Monarch Larva Monitoring Project
http://www.mlmp.org/

Xerces Society: California Monarch Butterfly Conservation Campaign
http://www.xerces.org/california-monarch-campaign/

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SELECTED INTERNET RESOURCES: MONARCH MIGRATION PROJECTS

The Chincoteague Monarch Monitoring Project: Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, Assateague, Virginia.
This monitoring project serves the Mid-Atlantic Region.
http://mysite.verizon.net/robgibbs301/monarch.htm/

Journey North: Monarch Butterfly
http://www.learner.org/jnorth/monarch/index.html

Monarch Butterflies: University of Minnesota
http://www.monarchlab.umn.edu/

Monarch Monitoring Project: Cape May Point, New Jersey
http://birdcapemay.org/monarch.shtml

Monarch Program (San Diego)
http://www.monarchprogram.org

Monarch Watch
http://www.monarchwatch.org

Monarchs and Migration from the Science Museum of Minnesota
http://www.smm.org/sln/monarchs/top.html

Texas Monarch Project
http://www.rice.edu/armadillo/Ftbend/newfly.html

Texas Monarch Watch
http://www.texasento.net/dplex.htm

Revised by Jennifer Harbster October 2010

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