Monarch butterflies can be tagged which allow us to follow the migration pattern when they are sighted and reported.
Gliders have reported sightings of monarchs at an altitude of eleven thousand feet. They are able to fly at speeds ranging from 15-50 km an hour and are able to fly up to 160 km a day when migrating to Mexico.
A monarch caterpillar gains 2,700 times its original weight in only 10 to 14 days.
Monarchs butterflies taste with the bottom of their feet.
Monarchs weigh 0.41 grams and their wingspan ranges from 93 mm to 105 mm.
The female will only lay her eggs on the host plant which is milkweed also the only source of food for caterpillars.
Butterflies only fly during the day and take shelter at night and wait until the next morning to continue flying.
In Mexico, the monarchs hang the winter away in the branches and the trunks of fir trees. Sometimes a branch gets so heavy with monarchs that it breaks off and falls to the ground, scattering sleepy monarchs everywhere.
Scientists have recorded a tagged Monarch butterfly to have traveled over 450 kilometers in one day! That's the same distance from Toronto to Ottawa!
The reason monarchs are able to fly such great distances is because they know how to save their energy. During migration, monarchs conserve their energy by riding columns of rising warm air and taking advantage of strong winds to help speed up their flight.
The Monarch Butterfly does not breed during the southern migration or winter over. But the return trip in the spring finds them mating, and laying their eggs on milkweed plants. Three or four generations will come and go before the species reaches its most northern summer destinations, to await the migratory cycle starting again.
The Monarch's process of communication uses colours and scents. Chemicals released from the rear wing glands of a male help to attract females to mate.