Who can resist the majesty of a newborn Monarch Butterfly? Not me. Every time I chance upon a pristine, perfectly formed Monarch butterfly waiting to make its mighty trek to the mountains of Michoacan, Mexico, it puts a smile on my face.
That happened three times this week–two boys and a girl hatched right here in the kitchen of the butterfly ranch. After retrieving my tags ordered from Monarchwatch, I recorded their sex and the date, affixed the tags to their discal cells, and sent them on their way. This is the earliest I’ve tagged any Monarchs, and this group was hatched from eggs found on Swamp Milkweed on the Llano River.
The notion that you should never touch a butterfly or it will never get off the ground is false. But you should be careful handling them.
Some of their scales may rub off, (“butterfly dust”), but that’s not fatal. Just don’t touch them if you have insecticide, sunscreen, lotion or other butterfly irritants on your hands. If you hold them upside down, it calms them.
These are deceptively sturdy creatures, flying up to 3,000 miles, navigating their way “home” to a place they’ve never been, and evading birds, spiders, cars and other predators along the way. They command our respect not only for their beauty, but for their resilience and tenacity.
Monarchwatch predicts that primetime for the migration in San Antonio will be from October 10 – 22, with a peak date of October 18. Keep your eyes open for them–and if you see one with a tag on it, report it to 888-TAGGING.
What you do the least, you do to me. I like to quote that to my conservative freshman college students when we start talking ecologically in class. If you want, would you read my article on the population status and respect we should have for monarchs? http://www.prairiefirenewspaper.com/2010/07/monarch-butterflies-the-last-migration
What an excellent piece on some of the many reasons we should revere, protect and celebrate the magnificent Monarch Butterfly and it’s unique Migration. Thanks for sharing this, Benjamin.