By Rick Mikula (December 2018)
Hap, Hap, Happy New Year! And Congratulations you did it! You have helped to increase the number of over wintering Monarchs in Mexico.
This year researchers estimate that the over wintering Monarch population in Mexico is at the fourth highest level since 1993. Yeah! Whoop! Whoop! It is one of the highest counts in the past 25 years. The latest site surveys suggest that the overwintering population this year is the largest since 2008 and could even be larger than the 5.06 hectare population recorded for that year. Of course, the numbers may never reach the highs of the 90’s but they have been slowly increasing over the past five years. Slowly but still increasing none the less and you helped. Here is how you did it.
If you kept a butterfly garden this past summer you helped right there. But better yet if you used the Monarch Migration Station you most likely raised quite a few Monarchs which hopefully you had set free. Thank you for that we all appreciate your efforts as did your Monarchs. Now please keep in mind this is all terribly optimistic and a bit of a stretch but strangely possible...in a perfect world.
Less say that you raised and released 1 female Monarch that eventually mated. Trust me it doesn’t take much for that to happen. Her first generation of eggs will produce 700 adults of which of which 350 will be female. Those 350 females can then produce 700 adults or 245,000 of which 122,500 will be females. Those 122,500 females can each produce 700 for 85,750,000 adults of which 42,875,000 females. The final 42,875,000 females can eventually produce 30,012,500,000 migrating adults. And that is still not taking into account the 42,875,000 males that were produced along with the final 42,875,000 final females. Now of course this is crazy speculation with and huge overdose optimism. But with the higher numbers if you raised and released any Monarchs from your Migration Station there is a good chance one of yours could have been in the mix.
So you say to yourself that would be nice if one of mine did make it to the over wintering sites but how in the world could that ever happen. You just may be surprised. If you have the opportunity take the time to check out the 2018 Monarch Watch list of "2018 Season Tag Recoveries".
There you will find a list of recoveries for this past tagging season from Canada and the U.S. https://monarchwatch.org/tagmig/recoveries.htm You just may be shocked to find Monarchs that have made it to Mexico from your state. You will also find several recoveries much farther away from Mexico than your location.
So if a tagged Monarch can make the flight from a much more distance place than your garden why couldn’t yours also make the trip. You just never know one or more of your babies can basking away in the Mexican winter waiting to return and become the great, great, grand parent of 30,012,500,00 monarchs. But that’s a perfect world.
So we wish you a very Happy New Year and extend a very heartfelt Thank You for planting garden, nurturing caterpillars, and helping to increase the numbers of Monarchs butterflies. You did good!
This entry was posted on December 31, 2018.