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Insecta Inspecta World Website

Protection for the amazing Monarch Butterfly in Mexico

The Monarch Butterfly is the king of the insect world. Even though they are small creatures, they do phenomenal things. First, they develop from tiny eggs, to a caterpillar, become a chrysalis, and finally transform into a beautiful butterfly.

They migrate, traveling great distances to overwinter in a temperate climate. Amazingly enough, not one butterfly makes the entire round-trip journey. Winter butterflies are sluggish and do not reproduce. In spring they return to summer homes and breed along the way. Their offspring return to the starting point.

Milkweed Plants

Danaus plexippus is the scientific name for the Monarch Butterflies. Related species in the family are found on all continents except the polar regions, wherever milkweed and related plants are found. Milkweed plants also provide the Monarch with an intriguing form of protection, since the milkweed juices assimilated by the Monarch make it poisonous to predatory birds. The beautiful orange color of the Monarch butterfly serves to teach predators that their intended meal might be toxic.

Not all milkweeds produce cardiac glycosides, therefore not all Monarchs are poisonous. However, the warning orange color serves to disguise poisonous from the non-toxic Monarch.

Annual Migration

Each Autumn, thousands of Monarch Butterflies gather in southern Canada to migrate south. Some of these butterflies travel over 2,900 kilometers, just to overwinter in places such as Michoacan, Mexico in a small town called Angangueo.

Other Monarch Butterflies also overwinter in Cuba, and Pacific Grove, as well as Newark, California. In sanctuaries such as the one in Angangueo, Michoacan in Mexico there are millions of these gorgeous butterflies.

From morning until about 1:00 pm, they are most active. You can see them flying around and almost blocking the sky. You will hear the fascinating sound of their wings flapping.

During their long flight there is a great danger from predators. The orange markings of their wings advertise the unmistakable fact that they might be a dangerous meal.

What is happening to their habitat?

In Northern Canada, the United States, and in Mexico, there are various organizations, which protect Monarch Butterflies.

When Monarch Butterflies are in the north, they are distributed throughout a large terrain, but when they migrate south they all stay in the same place. In Mexico many of the trees that have been homes to these butterflies for years are being cut down.

The Monarch Butterfly population is decreasing. Humans need to be much more appreciative of this regal insect, the beautiful but fragile Monarch Butterflies.

Source: Insecta Inspecta World (IIW) Website 


even though: used as an intensifier especially to indicate something unexpected (aún cuando)
: a wormlike larva (oruga)
chrysalis: pupa of a butterfly enclosed in a cocoon (crisálida)
to overwinter: to spend winter (para pasar el invierno)
sluggish: very slow (de muy lento desplazamiento)
offspring: progeny, descendants (crías)
milkweed: numerous plants having milky juice (plantas lechosas)
poisonous: venemous (venenosa)

predators: animals that live by preying on other animals (a los depredadores)
gorgeous: dazzlingly beautiful (deslumbrantes)
blocking: obstructing, covering (cubriendo)
flapping: up and down motion of the wings (batiendo)
unmistakable: clearly evident to the mind (inconfundible)
throughout: all the way through, from first to last (en toda la extensión de)
cut down: cut with blades or mowers (talados)
regal: royal, imperial (real, imperial)