5 February: Western Monarch Day
Feb 05, 2017 11:35AM
● Published by Gene Kirschbaum
Gallery: The Other Monarch from Beaver Dam [1 Image] Click any image to expand.
Today, we celebrate the Western Monarch, and we might as well celebrate the Eastern Monarch at the same time -- for the Eastern Monarch, which haunts Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, annually engages in THE MOST AMAZING migration in the entire animal kingdom (according to the renowned authority, Stump the Beaver).
Each year, the fast-burning monarchs progress through four generations. The first generation grows up in Beaver Dam (or further north) in August where it follows the typical life cycle: egg, caterpillar, chrysalis, butterfly. This generation lives the longest and (1) flies to Mexico; (2) overwinters in the warmth of Mexico; and then, in the Spring (3) flies to Texas where it lays eggs on milkweed plants.
The second generation begins life in Texas on milkweed plants and then continues the northward journey.
The third generation continues the northward journey, ever seeking milkweed for the caterpillars and nectar for the butterflies.
The fourth generation, born in Beaver Dam (or further north), heads back toward Mexico for the winter, where it is warm enough for the butterflies to survive the winter.
We don't how the Monarchs (without map or GPS) are able to find their way back to the same forests in Mexico that their great-grandparents overwintered the year before.