B is for Butterfly
The monarch butterfly to be precise.
Monarch butterflies form part of the largest migration of any animal – an up to 3,200 mile journey from the cool mountain forests of Mexico, where they spend winter protected from the extreme cold by clustering together in millions on oyamel fir trees, to North America and Canada.
In spring they are stimulated by the lengthening days and the rise in temperatures to mate – then they rise from the trees and set off north, tasting the direction on the wind, and lay their eggs, one at a time, on flowering milkweed plants.
Three generations of butterflies feed, pupate and emerge – and the fourth generation, feeling the shortening of the days and cooling temperatures, somehow, even though they are the great, great-grandchildren of the butterflies that flew north, know they have to fly south and overwinter to survive and start again the following year.
Monarch butterflies are endangered by loss of habitat and climate change.
All material © Liz Brownlee
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