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Monarch Butterflies - an overview
 
If you were asked to name a type of butterfly, what picture and name would come to mind?  Of the most common varieties in North America the Monark Butterfly awareness impact is pretty high.  They are big (up to 4 inch wingspan), awesome bright orange and black with white spots, and famous for their annual Monarch Butterfly migration.

What is the only insect that doesn't cause you to hide inside when they are swarming your neighborhood?  Who helps the bees and hummingbirds pollinate the flowers .... Monarch Butterflies.

While many species of birds migrate during seasonal periods, researchers believe that the Monark Butterfly is the only actual “migratory” insect. Other butterflies, moths, and insects may be seen in large numbers making a big trip, but almost always they are in search of food, not to escape climatic conditions.
The winter monarch migration takes millions of Monarch Butterflies thousands of miles, from Canada and northern portions of the United States, to the coastal regions of California and Texas, and mostly to the mountains of central Mexico.  The Monarch butterfly migration is a truly incredible feat accomplished like clockwork every year, on the same dates, and to the exact same locations, and return in the spring.  Details about the butterfly migration.
OK ...... that's downright amazing ......
But consider these caveats..... This  Monarch Butterfly migration isn't done by Grandpa leading his offspring.  It's accomplished by a new generation that has never done this and for sure has never been there before.  To top that off, this generation starts the return trek back north in the spring, stops to mate and lay eggs on milkweed plants, but then they all die of old age.  After a few days a new generation is born, become caterpillars, who then transform into adults (butterfly metamorphosis) who continue the expedition north. 

This Monarch Butterfly life cycle process repeats for a couple more times before the annual cycle is complete, and they reach their summer destination where their ancestors lived last year. 

Are these guys concealing some sort of top secret GPS system?   

Monark Butterflies are incredible!
    

Monark Butterfly migrating through Virginia mountains
  
 
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