Monday, July 07, 2008

More fireworks? No, milkweed -- and we need more of it for those migratory wonders, the Monarchs

More Fireworks? No, Milkweed
We need more of these plants to keep the Monarch Butterfly life cycle intact. The annual migration to Mexico by these featherlight living aircraft is one of nature's wonders. In most species, migrations are led by veterans of an earlier migration, and this training of the young by their elders is something we can more or less understand based on our own experience. Not so with Monarchs, which are far more mysterious. The round trip spans several generations, whose individual life spans are shorter than the complete north to south and back north again trek. That's what caused the NY Times to refer memorably to migrating Monarchs as "leaderless orphans" a couple of years ago.

1 comment:

The Laundress said...

I left the milkweed to take over my upper backyard flowerbed this summer. Last, year we had monarchs and their cocoons on the one stray plant.

My former neighbor has gone off to Mexico to aid in the Monarch census... thanks for this post (and your photo is, once again,a stunner -- looks like fireworks, dazzling)