Monarch Butterfly arrives in Michoacán

The gates of the El Rosario sanctuary are now open to the public so tourists can witness this unique spectacle of color
Monarch butterfly - File photo/EL UNIVERSAL
Carlos Arrieta
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The flapping of wings in orange, black, and white hues sprinkles the blue of the sky with a very distinctive color palette. It's November, and the Monarch butterfly has already arrived in Michoacán, and with it, the exhilaration of the natives who quickly come out to welcome the thousands of tourists who have come to enjoy this spectacle of color, a gift of Mother Nature.

Authorities estimate that during this season (November 2017 to March 2018) close to 99.9 millions of Monarch butterflies will arrive at the woods of El Rosario Sanctuary, located in the tows on Ocampo.

This increase represents 60% more than last year, when close to 33.66 millions of individuals settled in this region.

Homero Gómez González, president of the governing board of the common land of El Rosario, remembers that two years ago, almost 2 million of Monarch butterflies died because of a frost, causing their numbers to dwindle in 2016.

This insect with its singular orange, black, and white wings travels 4 thousand kilometers from the north of Canada and 2 thousand kilometers from the south of the United States (their stopover) to arrive at Mexican lands and decorate the large fir trees of its woods.

On their way to their final destination, the butterflies cross the states of Coahuila, Tamaulipas, Nuevo León, San Luis Potosí, Querétaro, Guanajuato, Morelos, Puebla, and Hidalgo, before reaching Michoacán and some parts of the State of Mexico.

Between February and March, this insect will mate in Mexican woods to return to Canada afterward – but only the female of the species, as the males die three days after mating.

According to the Ministry of the Environmental and Natural Resources, the Monarch butterfly is a surprising creature, as it can live up to nine months, unlike other butterflies who have an average lifespan of 24 days.

While the Monarch butterfly exists in several places in the world, like Australia, Hawaii and the Caribbean, only in North America does the phenomenon of migration and hibernation take place, one of the reasons the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve in Mexico is recognized as a world heritage by the UNESCO.


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