Thursday, March 12, 2015

Follow the Monarchs

Monarch Butterfly Migration Map

Follow the migration of the monarch butterfly with the help of these maps provided by Journey North. Bear in mind that the subspecies of monarch, Danaus plexippus plexippus, is the migratory one, the one we are familiar with in the United States and Canada. There are 5 non-migratory subspecies in the neotropical region - portoricensis in Puerto Rico; leucogyne on the Virgin Islands; megalippe in Cuba, the Bahamas and the Caymans; tobagi on Tobago, and nigrippus in the Andes. We know next to nothing about these subspecies and their conservation status. Some may be more endangered than “our” monarch. We just don’t know. Some consider all the non-migratory monarchs as members of a single subspecies, megalippe. Still others think that there are 8 subspecies.

The southern monarch, Danaus erippus, of southern South America is closely related and similar looking. It was considered a subspecies of Danaus plexippus, but now it is regarded as a separate species. It is also migratory to some extent. Very little is known about its migration.

Learn more about the present status of the migratory monarch subspecies, Danaus plexippus plexippus:
Conservation Status and Ecology of the Monarch Butterfly in the United States