The first Monarch butterflies arrive in Mexico


The 2020-2021 hibernation season is approaching and on September 26th the first sightings of the Monarch butterfly were made in Acuña, Coahuila. Every year they travel more than 4 thousand kilometers from the south of Canada to spend the winter shelter in the forests of Michoacan and the State of Mexico.

The first Monarch butterflies arrive in Mexico. Photo: CONANP
The first Monarch butterflies arrive in Mexico. Photo: CONANP

The sighting of the first specimens at Braulio Fernandez Park, on the banks of Rio Bravo, was registered thanks to the citizen monitoring implemented by the "Royal Mail" Program of PROFAUNA A. C. for 25 years.

According to the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas (CONANP), the entry into the country on that date is extraordinary since it has been catalogued as early. The haste can be attributed to the climatic conditions of wind, rain, and humidity that the east of the United States presented with the entry of Hurricane Delta to the country.

During their journey, the Lepidoptera can be observed in forests and green areas in the states of Michoacán, State of Mexico, San Luis Potosí, Querétaro, Hidalgo, Tamaulipas, Coahuila, and Nuevo León. In these places, the species rests on trees and bushes to rest, hydrate and mate. They obtain their food mainly from the nectar of the polocote.

It is expected that during the course of the week larger groups of the Monarch butterfly will be observed entering the border with the United States in more regions of Coahuila, as well as in the states of Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas. CONANP invites citizens to "observe the sky, gardens and green areas around them to record the passage of the Monarchs through our territory.

The forests of Oyamel used by the Monarch butterfly to spend the winter are located at 3,000 meters above sea level. They migrate from Canada to the region of Michoacán and the State of Mexico because the geographical conditions of the region provide them with the necessary conditions for their survival during the winter.

The Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve is located in the municipalities of Temascalcingo, San Felipe del Progreso, Donato Guerra, and Villa de Allende in the State of Mexico, and Contepec, Senguío, Angangueo, Ocampo, Zitácuaro and Aporo in the State of Michoacán. It covers 56,259 hectares and is an area destined for the migration, hibernation, and reproduction of the Monarch butterfly. In this sense, the region was declared a Protected Natural Area on October 9, 1986. Later, in 2008, due to its enormous importance, UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site.

The migration of the species is extremely important for the regions in its path. In its adult stage, the butterfly becomes an important pollinator. In this way they mobilize the pollen they find on their way and redistribute it in various regions. Thanks to this, the enormous genetic diversity of the plants grows. Also, in its caterpillar stage, the butterfly feeds on the cotton mealybug, a pest that attacks an enormous amount of plants.

During the last decade, according to the website "Soy Monarca", the populations of the species decreased drastically. In 2013, the lowest population was registered for the whole decade. This decline is largely due to the deterioration in environmental quality and, of course, has serious ecological consequences.

In this season of hibernation the CONANP, as well as the Program "Correo Real" of PROFAUNA A. C, invite citizens to participate in the campaign #ProtejamosALasMonarca to monitor and help chart their migratory route. Registration can be done through applications developed for Android and IOs. They also make available the page to expand the knowledge about the Monarch butterfly.