Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 08-28-2019, 10:34 AM
Cabin_Fever is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: West Coast Michigan
Posts: 1,662

Monarch Butterfly Question


I live on the west coast of northern Michigan after spending half my life on the Gulf Coast.

I have read about Monarch butterfly migration, that they like milkweed plants (which is why I let those thrive along the property line edges). With winter just around the corner, why are they still here?

They are beautiful and I enjoy their presence, but shouldn't they be headed to Mexico, Central America? I had one land on me briefly the other day while sitting on the front porch. We had a short conversation and he/she went about their butterfly business. Anyone care to fight my ignorance?
  #2  
Old 08-28-2019, 11:09 AM
puddleglum's Avatar
puddleglum is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: a van down by the river
Posts: 6,631
If they are Monarch butterflies, migration typically does not start until October.
  #3  
Old 08-28-2019, 11:21 AM
Xema is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 12,216
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cabin_Fever View Post
With winter just around the corner, why are they still here?
Given that it's late August, even in northern Michigan winter is still some ways off.

Googling suggests the southern Monarch migration is September - November.
  #4  
Old 08-28-2019, 12:09 PM
markn+ is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: unknown; Speed: exactly 0
Posts: 2,566
The monarchs you're seeing now might not even be the ones who will migrate this fall. Normally monarchs only live a few weeks. In the fall a special generation of uber-monarchs is born which can live for many months, and those are the ones who undertake the migration to Mexico.
  #5  
Old 08-28-2019, 02:22 PM
Cabin_Fever is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: West Coast Michigan
Posts: 1,662
Thanks for all your answers. I was under the impression that they would be headed south by now.
  #6  
Old 08-28-2019, 02:39 PM
Cabin_Fever is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: West Coast Michigan
Posts: 1,662
Quote:
Originally Posted by markn+ View Post
In the fall a special generation of uber-monarchs is born
Uber-monarchs. I like that term. Perhaps the many I am seeing lately are those. They are a beautiful creature - unlike the typical generic butterfly/moth I get to see.
  #7  
Old 08-28-2019, 02:47 PM
Cabin_Fever is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: West Coast Michigan
Posts: 1,662
Quote:
Originally Posted by puddleglum View Post
If they are Monarch butterflies, migration typically does not start until October.
Oh cool. Maybe I can enjoy their presence for a bit longer. They just recently been everywhere at Casa 1905.
  #8  
Old 08-28-2019, 02:52 PM
Cabin_Fever is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: West Coast Michigan
Posts: 1,662
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xema View Post
Given that it's late August, even in northern Michigan winter is still some ways off.
Given that my bones and joints disagree, winter is coming. YMMV.
Of course, don't forget, I'm from the south. 60 degrees F has me putting on my winter coat.

Last edited by Cabin_Fever; 08-28-2019 at 02:56 PM.
  #9  
Old 08-28-2019, 09:17 PM
Kimstu is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 22,748
I've been raising monarch (and swallowtail) butterflies this summer, and I think there might still be some migration-generation eggs being laid here in upstate NY. Keep planting that milkweed! (And dill, parsley, Queen Anne's lace, and other carrot-family for the swallowtails.)
  #10  
Old 08-29-2019, 06:08 AM
kayaker's Avatar
kayaker is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Western Pennsylvania
Posts: 32,564
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kimstu View Post
Keep planting that milkweed! (And dill, parsley, Queen Anne's lace, and other carrot-family for the swallowtails.)
Be sure to plant the correct species of milkweed!
  #11  
Old 08-29-2019, 08:17 AM
Mr. Duality is offline
Luminary
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: The High Plains
Posts: 1,569
Saw the Imax movie on Monarch butterflies. It was said that the migration requires 3 generations to complete. No mention was made of Uber-Monarchs.
__________________
America- Fuck yeah!
  #12  
Old 08-29-2019, 11:15 AM
KMS94 is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Maine
Posts: 161
There was a story just this morning in my local paper about a local farm that has a huge amount of Monarchs this year. It has some interesting info.

I believe the link is free, up to a certain number of stories a month.

https://bangordailynews.com/2019/08/...x-county-farm/
  #13  
Old 08-29-2019, 10:58 PM
Cabin_Fever is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: West Coast Michigan
Posts: 1,662
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Duality View Post
Saw the Imax movie on Monarch butterflies. It was said that the migration requires 3 generations to complete. No mention was made of Uber-Monarchs.
Wow. I did not know that. To kayaker, the milkweed around here is native to the area northern Michigan climate, so I am hopeful that it contains no nasty parasites. I have noticed a decline in sightings while wandering about. Maybe instead of Uber-Monarchs they called Lyft instead. Weird humor, I know...
  #14  
Old 08-29-2019, 11:04 PM
Cabin_Fever is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: West Coast Michigan
Posts: 1,662
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kimstu View Post
I've been raising monarch (and swallowtail) butterflies this summer, and I think there might still be some migration-generation eggs being laid here in upstate NY. Keep planting that milkweed! (And dill, parsley, Queen Anne's lace, and other carrot-family for the swallowtails.)
I have yet to see a swallowtail since moving back here. You are lucky. They are also beautiful. Maybe my location isn't right for their habitat.
  #15  
Old 08-29-2019, 11:46 PM
markn+ is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: unknown; Speed: exactly 0
Posts: 2,566
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Duality View Post
Saw the Imax movie on Monarch butterflies. It was said that the migration requires 3 generations to complete. No mention was made of Uber-Monarchs.
The northward migration takes several generations to complete. The southward migration is done by one generation, which lives longer than the other generations.
  #16  
Old 08-30-2019, 12:01 AM
Cabin_Fever is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: West Coast Michigan
Posts: 1,662
Quote:
Originally Posted by markn+ View Post
The northward migration takes several generations to complete. The southward migration is done by one generation, which lives longer than the other generations.
Interesting. I wonder why.
  #17  
Old 08-30-2019, 02:22 PM
Hoopy Frood is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 4,693
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cabin_Fever View Post
I have yet to see a swallowtail since moving back here. You are lucky. They are also beautiful. Maybe my location isn't right for their habitat.
We had swallowtail caterpillars invade our bucket garden. (Didn't know when they first showed up what type they were, but a little investigation revealed them as swallowtails.)

They ate all our dill.

To punish them, we planted more dill for them. Serves them right.

One morning, all the caterpillars were gone. We're hoping they went off to metamorphose.

We live near the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago, incidentally. Swallowtails aren't common around here, apparently.
  #18  
Old 09-01-2019, 02:30 PM
blarson61 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Posts: 2
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cabin_Fever View Post
Interesting. I wonder why.
The short answer is, because that's how they evolved. The decline, to put it simply, is that they all go to a pine forest in Mexico, then come back across the Gulf to the Eastern US. They are victims of loss of habitat on both ends. In Mexico, one tree on the edge of the forest is chopped down and creates a corridor of cold air that can kill those roosting deeper in. On this end, we're mowing down fields of milkweeds (the caterpillars only food source) so they can't find anywhere to lay their eggs.

Look up pics of the Mexican wintering grounds, or imagine a Xmas tree absolutely blanketed in bright orange wings.

Last edited by blarson61; 09-01-2019 at 02:33 PM.
  #19  
Old 09-03-2019, 06:21 AM
kayaker's Avatar
kayaker is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Western Pennsylvania
Posts: 32,564
We used to visit the Butterfly Farm in St Martin every year, until Irma destroyed it. From what we learned there and elsewhere, we've planted much of our yard with plants designed to benefit butterfly populations.

One summer my gf had some coworkers over for tea. We walked out of the sunroom into the yard and there were dozens of butterflies. It was surreal; it looked like a Disney CGI effect, causing jaws to drop.

I shook my head and apologized, saying, "sorry about this, I should have sprayed this morning". My gf got the joke but her friends were aghast.
  #20  
Old 09-07-2019, 06:33 PM
salinqmind is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Liverpool NY USA
Posts: 10,116
I'll never forget a few short years ago on a bright sunny mild October day, with a bright blue sky, here in upstate NY. I saw some monarchs fluttering around, unusual! ... but driving down the road for some miles, I noticed a fluttering across the road, way up in the sky. Starting and stopping. I pulled over, and watched for an hour as a line of butterflies ambled on by...a short wait...followed by another small line......another wait.....more butterflies. It was a migration, slow, sparse, but steady in progress. One of the most beautiful hours of my life.... A pity that might be just a memory as the world climbs up its own stinking shithole and everything dies off.

Last edited by salinqmind; 09-07-2019 at 06:34 PM.
  #21  
Old 09-08-2019, 05:56 AM
Filbert is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 5,612
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cabin_Fever View Post
Interesting. I wonder why.
I'd hazard a guess that it's because in late season there's less food availability for caterpillars (as foliage is starting to toughen and die back at the end of summer). Newly hatched caterpillars generally prefer younger more tender leaves, which would be widely available in spring on the Northern migration.
  #22  
Old 09-08-2019, 08:56 PM
InsomniaMama is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 494
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoopy Frood View Post
We live near the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago, incidentally. Swallowtails aren't common around here, apparently.
Nah, tons around. Iíve seen two just yesterday and today.
  #23  
Old 09-09-2019, 03:05 PM
Cabin_Fever is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: West Coast Michigan
Posts: 1,662
I am going to semi-hijack my own OP, if that is permitted. Thanks to all for the answers/clarifications provided. (I love the SDMB for just this reason).

There has been a abundance of butterflies with white wings that I see out through my window. They are not moths and they are very numerous, more than the monarchs that I have seen. They flit about so fast that I have not been able to capture them (err.. poor choice of words) with my cameras. Can anyone clue me in on who they are? My google-fu returns so much that I get lost.

For those who wonder, I am on the west coast of the state of Michigan, about half-way down the mitten if you get my drift.

Last edited by Cabin_Fever; 09-09-2019 at 03:10 PM. Reason: hoping some one with more knowledge tham me can answer
  #24  
Old 09-09-2019, 06:52 PM
John DiFool's Avatar
John DiFool is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Posts: 18,146
European Cabbage White, an introduced species.
  #25  
Old 09-09-2019, 07:28 PM
Cabin_Fever is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: West Coast Michigan
Posts: 1,662
Quote:
Originally Posted by John DiFool View Post
European Cabbage White, an introduced species.
Interesting, but I haven't noticed any dots on the wings. I will try to get a closer look in daylight tomorrow.

https://www.bing.com/images/search?q...te&FORM=HDRSC2

Last edited by Cabin_Fever; 09-09-2019 at 07:29 PM. Reason: image link added
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 08:15 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright © 2018 STM Reader, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017