Mexico launches app to monitor monarch butterflies

Mexico's CONANP has launched a free app for Mexicans to monitor monarch butterflies in all 32 states

Mexico launches app to monitor monarch butterflies
Thousands of monarch butterflies are still flying in during this season, though many have lagged behind due to storms and cold fronts - Photo: File photo/AP
English 24/11/2018 16:50 Rebeca Jiménez Jacinto Mexico City Actualizada 16:56
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Due to storms and snowfalls, monarch butterflies did not arrive in the nine sanctuaries located between the State of Mexico and Michoacán during the Day of the Dead this year, according to Gloria Tavera Alonso, regional director of the National Commission on Natural Protected Areas (CONANP).

PhD in Science Tavera Alonso revealed an app known as Red Monarca” (Monarch Network), which allows for Mexicans to document the presence of these butterflies that travel through three American countries each year.

However, the arrival of monarch butterflies did not happen on October 31 or November 1 and 2, but until November 7, after flying for a distance of almost 2,800 miles from Canada to the United States.

A group of investigators has created a mobile application for thousands of citizens to take part in the National Monarch Butterfly Monitoring Network to document and follow the journey of these butterflies through Canada, the United States, and 22 states of our country, claimed Gloria Tavera.

Through the free phone app, inhabitants of all 32 states of Mexico will be able to document they day, hour, and place where they spot monarch butterflies, as well as their status and weather conditions, indicated the investigator.

The 2018-2019 season started late on November 7 and will continue until the month of March. After mating, the monarch butterflies will start their journey back to the United States and Canada, during which time five out of all nine sanctuaries will remain open.

Climate change has deeply affected the species’ migration phenomenon, causing a decrease in the area of occupancy at the sanctuaries. During the 2013-2014 period, monarch butterflies occupied less than a hectare: Only 67 square meters.

During the 2015-2016 season, the insects occupied four hectares; between 2016 and 2017, the occupation decreased to 2.91 hectares of forest, while in 2017-2018, it showed a 14% decrease (to 2.48 hectares), according to the expert.

Thousands of monarch butterflies are still flying in during this season, though many have lagged behind due to storms and cold fronts. Though monarch butterflies can endure temperatures of under 4°C, they cannot endure a combination of heavy rain and cold weather as were registered in the states of Michoacán and Mexico on November 2 and 3.


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