Monarch Butterfly Migration Path Mapped by Generations for First Time

August 12, 2013 7:50 AM

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Monarch butterflies have one of the most epic and chronicled migrations of the insect world. They journey thousands of miles each year between Mexico and Canada, wintering in the south before returning north once more. Until now, though, linking adult butterflies and their birthplaces during this complicated migration has remained near impossible. Yet scientists have now mapped this migration pattern over an entire breeding season, which may help them preserve this amazing creature.

Monarch butterflies are currently in decline. The vibrant insect is suffering from habitat destruction in addition to having to cope with insecticides and other chemicals in the environment. In particular, the loss of milkweed, the sole plant that Monarch larvae feed on, has drastically impacted but...

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