The monarch butterfly is the greatest marathon runner of the insect world. Each year in May hundreds of millions of them take off from their winter quarters in Morelia, Mexico to begin a perilously delicate 3000 mile journey north. With luck, three months later by the human calendar but three generations later in butterfly time, the Monarchs reach northern United States and southern Canada. In late summer their journey begins again, and they arrive back in their winter roosts around the time of the Mexican Day of the Dead in late November. And while the monarch butterfly is beautiful, it is also mysterious. We don't know how the monarchs know where to go. We have no idea how they navigate the annual route along identical flight paths, right down to nesting on the same trees in the same fields year after year. And we don't know how they pass on the knowledge of those routes to the future generations that make the return trip. Producer Chris Brookes takes us on an in-depth journey with the monarch butterfly, and looks at three factors that may be threatening its existence.
The Traveller was produced by Chris Brookes. The music was performed by Nathan Millstein and Christina Smith.
Purchase your own monarch butterfly in any of its life stages for personal enjoyment, special occasions and educational settings.
North American Butterfly Association
Images, publications and links to promote the conservation and appreciation of butterfly species including the monarch butterfly.
Monarch Magic!: Butterfly Activities and Nature Discoveries
by: Lynn M. Rosenblatt (Photographer) 1998
Discover the metamorphosis of the monarch from egg to caterpillar to chrysalis to emerging butterfly, and enjoy related crafts and activities.
Chasing Monarchs: Migrating with the Butterflies of Passage
by: Robert Michael Pyle, Harry Foster (Editor) 2001
Follow the journey of the amazing insect over thousands of miles of North America.
A World for Butterflies: Their Lives, Behavior and Future
by: Phillip J. Schappert 2005
Understand the history, life cycle and endangerment of the butterfly in today's world.
Dangerous World of Butterflies: The Startling Subculture of Criminals, Collectors, and Conservationists
by: Peter Laufer 2009