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Do you want to help spotting monarch butterflies?

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Quitzé Fernández
Quitzé Fernándezhttps://www.amonite.com.mx
Amonite es un sitio dedicado a la divulgación científica para niños y jóvenes. Somos un grupo de amigos que escucha, cuenta historias y las plasma en algo parecido a un papel. Por medio de la ilustración y los medios audiovisuales buscamos acercar las novedades de ciencia y tecnología con un lenguaje accesible para todos. Amonite es un proyecto binacional editado y diseñado entre México y Argentina. Nace en 2017 a iniciativa de Quitzé Fernández, quien obtuvo en 2013 el Premio Nacional de Periodismo y Divulgación Científica, convocado por el Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología de México (Conacyt), con la crónica La mujer que encontró dinosaurios en el patio de su casa. A él se unieron los ilustradores Daniel Galindo y Jess Silva, que han generado trabajo visual para diarios e instituciones del norte de México; y más adelante los periodistas José Juan Zapata y Jessica Jaramillo, en la edición y generación de contenido, desde Buenos Aires, Argentina. Todos ellos forman parte del staff permanente de Amonite, junto a un grupo de colaboradores que aportan sus visiones periodísticas, visuales y literarias del mundo de la ciencia.

Photo: Brian Forsyth (Pexels)

Autumn is the time of migration of the monarch butterfly and it is very common that we can see them in our gardens on their way to their sanctuaries in central Mexico. We can all collaborate to get to know them better and help in their conservation.

By: Laura Puentes

A few days ago I was going on a road trip with my family to the magical town of Cuatro Cienégas and something caught my attention: When I turned around for the sale of the car, I saw a sign that said: “Monarch Butterfly Step” .

For an instant, I thought what a wonderful natural spectacle it would be to see all the butterflies pass by and share it . For that, the Royal Mail Program – Monarch Butterfly carried out a butterfly watching workshop, and today we share more information so that you know what to do if you see any during these times of migration.

Correo Real, from Profauna, is an environmental education and citizen science program that is dedicated to analyzing the migration of the monarch butterfly in Mexico. A few months ago we chatted with them to find out more about this fascinating and beautiful insect.

What is a monarch butterfly like?
Something very important, according to Alejandra Zamarripa, Communications Manager at Correo Real, is to distinguish the monarch butterfly (Danaus Plexippus) and differentiate it from other butterflies.

For this he shared that there are three very simple ways to identify them:

By its size : The monarch butterfly is distinguished from other butterflies by having a measurement of between 8.9 to 12 centimeters.

Because of their white moles : These are only found on the margin of their wings and on their thorax, never inside.

To differentiate the male from a female: females have stronger vein markings than males and on the other hand, males have two black dots called androconia that secrete pheromones and the lines on their wings are thin.

There are two types of butterflies with which the monarch butterfly can be most confused, the first is the Danaus Gilippus and the second is the Libytheana Carinenta Bachmanni.

Migration process
It is said that for some pre-Hispanic cultures the migration of the monarch butterfly it meant the return of souls to the world of the living. Since his flight coincided with the celebration of the Day of the Dead.

Likewise, they were considered as the spirit of the forest, for which they were seen as sacred animals.

However, monarch butterflies make an amazing journey , being living beings weighing less than one gram, they travel around 5,000 kilometers during their migration process and cross three countries.

The monarch butterfly complies with two migratory routes each year: the western migration, in which the young are born in the north of Mexico and the south of the United States , since their trip is directed towards the northern area of the American continent.

In the eastern migration, the butterfly begins its displacement towards different areas of the Mexican territory at the end of October , to its winter refuges.

You can collaborate to get to know them better
If you see any monarch butterfly you can support the Royal Mail organization.

Here we leave you all the information:

A threatened species
The monarch butterfly makes one of the longest and most spectacular migrations in the world, but it is a threatened species, not only due to the lack of awareness of humans but also due to the destruction of its habitat.

Deforestation and excessive logging are destroying natural hibernation sites in Mexico. Likewise, in some areas of the United States, the use of herbicides and pest controllers for various crops are modifying the soils of these ecosystems.

And without a doubt, climate change is seriously affecting the normal development of the environment and the forests where monarch butterflies take refuge. All of these problems have led to an alarming decline in the monarch butterfly population.

Although there are people from different communities interested and informed as a result of the monarch butterfly sightings workshop, we still do not see a more active participation of the people , as Roberto Méndez, biologist and collaborator of Correo Real comments.

So remember that we can help to take care of this species that is visiting our country today and that only stays here for a few months.

References:
About the Program – Royal Mail Program

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