It is official fall is here! Time for pumpkins, changing leaves, apple cider and cozy sweaters, but one tiny insect is working hard to make it to their winter home in Mexico. The great migration of monarch butterflies is mysterious to many researchers, but this week a group of scientists have identified genes that may be the key to why certain monarchs are better suited to make this long journey.
A study published in the journal Nature found that the collagen gene which dictates structure, connective tissue and muscle is a distinguishing factor in migrating and non-migrating butterflies. They also found that migrating butterflies were able to efficiently use their oxygen, where the non-migrating butterflies rapidly used oxygen when tested in 20 minutes of flight.
In the past few years the migrating monarch population has declined, but this year reports or migrating butterflies seem to be moving in a positive direction. A St Louis weather team’s radar picked up a cloud of butterflies instead of rain in September.
Do you want to learn more about butterflies? Here is a sample of Arbordale Books that feature the strong, winged creatures.
Ten For Me
Two friends take off on a butterfly hunt, only to find themselves tangled in a mathematics net! Written in rhyme, award-winning author Barbara Mariconda takes you along as the narrator Rose and her friend Ed race to see who can catch the most butterflies on this addition adventure. “How many in all? Let’s add them again!” shout the butterfly hunters. Who will win? Ten for Me makes math fun, easy, and entertaining, while adding a touch of the natural world into cross-curricular education.
On the Move
Imagine seeing hundreds of the same type of animal gathered at the same place and at the same time! Right here in North America many animals gather in huge numbers and can be seen at predictable times and locations. Not all migrations are tied to seasonal food changes—some are tied to life cycles and the need to gather in huge numbers. Certain birds, reptiles, mammals, amphibians, fish, and even insects migrate during spring, summer, fall, or winter. Travel along with them as you learn about what puts these animals On the Move.
A Butterfly Called Hope
The colorful flowers in Mama’s garden reveal a strange-looking creature. “What is it? Does it sting, does it bite?” Join in this photographic journey as the young girl and her mother care for the caterpillar. Watch as it transforms into a chrysalis and then emerges as a beautiful monarch butterfly. How can the young girl “claim” the butterfly as her own but still let it go free?
Multiply on the Fly