Monarch Butterfly Reserves Mexico

mnchbttflThere is a an old saying that is a butterfly flaps its wings in one part of the world it could eventually turn into a hurricane in another part of the world.

That may not be true of one individual butterfly, but if a billion of them flapped their wings at once you may certainly notice them.

The best place in the world to notice the monarch butterflies is in Mexico, as that is where they go to spend their winters. Amazingly, these small creatures can travel as much as four thousand kilometres from as far away from Mexico as the Rocky Mountains in Canada, a trip they will do twice a year.

The monarchs normally spend from October to March in Mexico, and there is a place, about one hundred kilometres north of Mexico City, that has been designated as a Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve as a means of protecting these amazing creatures from having their habitat destroyed by humans.

The reserve covers an area of 56,000 hectares, although only a portion of it is used as a stopover by the butterflies. Although the population does vary, it has been estimated that up to one billion of monarchs will make the trip in a good year.

Once in Mexico, the butterflies congregate in fir trees, and they like to hibernate in the same tree each year.

There appears to be two reasons why the butterflies migrate. The first is because they just don’t like the bitterly cold weather of the northern winter, and the second is because of a lack of food in the summer residences once the cold makes its mark.

There are a number of different colonies in the Biosphere Reserve, but most are protected, and only a few of these colonies allow people to visit.

The sight of millions of butterflies clustered together on branches, or flying about, is quite amazing and quite rare, particularly as the monarchs are the only butterflies to migrate large distances like various species of birds do.

The reserves that can be visited are Sierra Chincua in Angangueo and El Rosario in Ocampo in Michoacán State and La Mesa and El Capulin in the State of Mexico.

One of the reasons why they all cluster together on branches is to keep warm, and they mate on the wing en masse during daylight, making for a most delightful and alluring sight that is similar to viewing an aerial dance.

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