We, people, habitually consider ourselves to be great travelers, conquerors of seas, skies and land. But in nature there are many travelers who make annual migrations over great distances. Especially amazing in this respect are the Danaida Monarch butterflies – these incredibly fragile and courageous creatures annually make a journey of several months for hundreds of thousands of kilometers.
Danaide monarch butterflies live mainly in North America, where they are real celebrities. Also, representatives of this species live in New Zealand and Australia, and during the migrations of Danaida, the monarch reaches both Europe and Russia. This is one of the few insects that can fly across the Atlantic Ocean.
Danaida Monarch is one of the most beloved species to study not only among scientists, but also among documentary filmmakers who make films about wildlife. The imago of monarchs (that is, the appearance of a butterfly during the period of its development, when it actually looks like a butterfly, and not like a caterpillar or pupa) cannot be confused with anything – bright orange wings, with a black pattern and edging from 8 to 10 cm in size.
These butterflies are not only beautiful, but also unique for their large-scale travels. Butterflies hit the road at different times of the year, depending on their habitat. However, the short life of a butterfly, only two months, is not enough to make a journey of almost six months. Therefore, along the way, butterflies make small stops for reproduction and change of developmental phases.
As a result, the third or fourth generation of butterflies reaches their destination, but surprisingly, they all continue the path started by their parents, and invariably arrive at their destination. Scientists still cannot explain how butterflies pass on route knowledge to their offspring, and how new generations of butterflies do not go astray?
As I said, Danaida Monarch is very beloved in her homeland of North America. It belongs to the protected species. Danaida Monarch is a symbol of as many as six states of America, and was even nominated for the symbol of the whole of America. Growing a butterfly out of a monarch’s caterpillar is one of the most popular tasks for schoolchildren.
In addition, Danaida Monarch brings a good income to the treasury, because butterfly migration routes are a popular tourist attraction. In the places of the favorite wintering grounds of butterflies, special reserves have been created, where a large number of tourists come to see the numerous flocks of monarchs.