Monarchs: the kings (and queens) of Pacific Grove

We took a little trip to Pacific Grove, CA near Monterey this past weekend to witness the comeback of the monarch butterflies. 

The monarch butterflies will spend their winter hibernation in Mexico and some parts of Southern California where it is warm all year long. If the monarch lives in the Eastern states, usually east of the Rocky Mountains, it will migrate to Mexico and hibernate in oyamel fir trees. If the monarch butterfly lives west of the Rocky Mountains, then it will hibernate in and around Pacific Grove, California in eucalyptus trees. Monarch butterflies use the very same trees each and every year when they migrate, which seems odd because they aren’t the same butterflies that were there last year. These are the new fourth generation of monarch butterflies, so how do they know which trees are the right ones to hibernate in? Monarch butterflies are the only insect that migrates to a warmer climate that is 2,500 miles away each year.The Monarch butterfly migrates for 2 reasons. They can not withstand freezing weather in the northern and central continental climates in the winter. Also, the larval food plants do not grow in their winter overwintering sites, so the spring generation must fly back north to places where the plants are plentiful.” –Monarch-Butterfly.com You can also find information and graphics on the USDA website.

If you plan on visiting the Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary, make sure to visit their website. It’s got good info on the site itself, docent hours and general butterfly migration.

I think I may go back in a couple weeks as the peak of the migration is in the second part of November, but what we got to see this past weekend will definitely do for now. It’s truly majestic.

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