Taylor suggested that the Festival recoveries are teaching us something new about monarchs.
“How can we reconcile the fact that these monarchs reached the overwintering sites in Mexico without being exposed to the conditions we understand are needed to induce diapause?” he asked in a heated discussion on the DPLEX. Monarch butterflies must be in reproductive diapause, a state in which they suspend sexual activities, in order to migrate; if they spend their energies on reproduction, they don’t have the capacity to migrate.
The news was well received in San Antonio, the National Wildlife Federation’s first Monarch Butterfly Champion City.
“Viva pollinators!” said Chief Marketing Officer Elizabeth Fauerso of the Pearl, which hosts the Festival. Festival Chief Docent Drake White sees the recoveries as “hopeful and inspiring.” She added that the massive presence of monarch butterfly caterpillars this spring was another positive sign for 2019.
“The realization that a fragile little butterfly that I held in my hand literally flew all the way to Mexico just boggles my mind!” said Patti Merhige, who served on the docent team with Cheryl Theis to tag male monarch, ZCH854, which was recovered in Cerro Pelón. “And it makes the citizen efforts personal while showing that those efforts are worth it scientifically!!!”
Said Theis: “It’s just really neat, kinda like winning a special lottery.”