Monarch butterfly day trip


There are many animals that migrate, periodically moving from one habitat to another.
Migration serves different purposes. There are species that do it to get away from extremely harsh winters or torrid summers; others do so by looking for a suitable place for reproduction, or to flee from their predators; other species do it to procure food.

Every year at the end of October, millions of monarch butterflies arrive in the Michoacan forests after a long trip of five thousand kilometers from the North of the United States to reproduce and then return following an ancient ritual.
It is a bit difficult to imagine a butterfly of a few centimeters traveling 120 kilometers in a day. And yet, the monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus plesippus) is capable of it.

The monarch butterfly establishes its colonies in the forest of Oyamel (Abies religiosa) on the south and southwest slopes of the mountains where there is a nearby stream, more than 2,700 meters above sea level. The butterflies are grouped during the nights and on cloudy and rainy days, in the middle fringe of the trees, where the winds do not blow with force and the temperatures are not so extreme. The tapestry that forms on the trunks and the clusters that hang from the branches allow the monarchs to conserve heat. Often the sheer mass of the butterflies or the "Nortes" cause the branches to fall off, scattering countless butterflies on the ground, leaving them exposed to cold and depredation, which is the main cause of death. It is estimated that only half of the population survives hibernation, which means a dying off of millions of butterflies during each migration.
In mid-February, when the temperature increases and the days get longer, the monarchs begin to mate, and the search for flowers to extract the nectar intensifies, since it is necessary to accumulate energy for the return. This tour begins at the beginning of March, when large groups of butterflies take flight simultaneously, flapping their wings with a thud, to find some updraft and start the return trip.
In mid-March, in the sanctuaries only corpses of dead butterflies remain as testimony, and the oyamel forests return to their original appearance, awaiting the end of the year when millions of monarch butterflies will come again, repeating this wonderful phenomenon, whose continuity we are all responsible for.
Through this amazing green class, the student will be able to witness this migration, study it, analyze it, understand it and be surprised by its scope.
The student will know and analyze from an integral and interdisciplinary perspective the phenomenon of the migration of the "Monarch Butterfly".
The student will know and analyze the physiological implications of this long journey of monarch butterflies, as well as some general aspects of the morphology and anatomy and environmental pressures to which monarch butterfly populations are subjected.

Approach to the ecosystem of the region