– La migración de las mariposas hacia Florida means the migration of butterflies to Florida. Do you know that migration is not limited to birds? Certain butterflies also migrate. This article will provide information about these creatures’ migration and more about Florida.

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Monarch Butterflies

Monarch Butterflies
There are dune swales and forested wetlands at the south end of Amelia Island State Park. They are a crucial stopover for monarch butterflies. These tiny winged insects travel enormous distances yearly, up to 3,000 miles between food sources and roosting areas.
Unlike most other insects in North America, these butterflies cannot survive a long and cold winter. Instead, they fly to Mexico, South Florida, or coastal California to roost during the colder months.
Due to their short life cycles, many of these butterflies will only ever make one leg of the journey. Routes are genetically ingrained rather than learned from experienced butterflies. It is their children’s grandchildren that will return south the following fall.


Migration is a biannual occurrence, and the spring and fall wildflowers at the park make it an ideal fuel stop.
As temperatures dip in the northern United States at the end of summer, newly emerged monarchs bulk up and head south. Fat from the nectar of wildflowers, especially milkweed, is stored in their abdomen and helps them survive a winter fast. Otherwise, solitary butterflies will cluster during southward migrations, especially during cooler nights. It helps to conserve heat and energy for these cold-blooded travelers.
The unique contours of interdunal swales and historic mosquito ditching at the south end of Amelia Island trap freshwater and make it an attractive habitat for a diversity of wildflowers food for the hungry butterflies. Passionflower, Indian blanket, partridge pea, morning glory, seashore mallows, standing cypress, and marsh pinks carpet the wetlands seasonally. Their rich, sugary nectar and the spacious flats of the parklands invite the butterflies to the bounty.
The peak migration viewing time for the butterflies at this latitude is from early to mid-October. You can help scientists studying the monarchs by reporting sightings of tagged butterflies.
Migrants will be swarming by the thousands into Florida this month. No, they’re not from Mexico; they’re going to Mexico.
The annual migration of the monarch butterfly is underway. The black-and-orange swarms begin arriving in central Mexico in late October. Some of them will have flown from Canada.
In their wake come scientists and tourists who travel to the Sierra Madre Mountains to marvel at fir trees shrouded with monarchs.
People in North Florida should be on the lookout starting in October, said Tom Emmel, founding director of the McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity at the University of Florida’s Museum of Natural History in Gainesville. The monarchs will be looking for flowering plants where they can make nectar stops to keep them going on their long journey.
The fall is prime time for butterfly watching as many types of butterflies head to warmer climates for the winter. But it’s the monarchs that everyone is watching because they travel farther than any of them.
Monarchs from all over the United States head to Mexico, Emmel said. The ones coming from the interior of the East Coast turn west at the Panhandle and fly along the Gulf Coast to Texas and into Mexico. However, the ones flying within about 50 miles of the Atlantic Coast go to South Florida and the mountainous islands like Cuba or the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico.
Emmel said some take a “shortcut” and fly over the Gulf of Mexico. Thanks to the oil industry, they can cover hundreds of miles of open water – which reports they camp on drilling rigs.
Scientists have discovered that some monarchs skip the trip to Mexico in favor of a Caribbean island or southern Florida.
This behavior has been documented, in part, through eyewitness accounts but also by a tagging program. Each fall, hundreds of volunteers around the country attach small stickers to the wings of monarchs. Several months later, other volunteers hunted for the tagged monarchs. Since the first tagging program in the 1970s, researchers have gained a wealth of information about the migratory habits of monarchs.
As many people were paying attention, a quick drop remained noticeable in the monarch butterfly population.
Since 1990, the number of monarchs has dropped from about 1 billion to about 30 million, prompting conservation groups to petition the government to declare the monarch an endangered species.
Many things threaten the monarch, including birds, lizards, and lousy weather.
But the biggest threat is habitat destruction caused by glysophate, better known as Roundup, a herbicide popular with homeowners and a staple of the agriculture industry, Emmel said.
Crops such as corn and soybeans have remained genetically modified so that they are resistant to Roundup, which means farmers can spray entire fields with the herbicide, and it will kill all plants except the crops.
One of the plants it kills is milkweed. Milkweed is the only plant on which the monarch will lay its eggs. And it’s the only plant the monarch caterpillars will eat.
Eliminate milkweed, and you eliminate monarchs.
In February, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced a $2 million initiative to restore milkweed on public lands, including the Interstate 35 corridor between Minnesota and Texas, and to provide seeds to citizens, schools, businesses – anybody willing to plant milkweed.
In March, Monsanto, which makes Roundup, pledged $4 million to the restoration effort.
One of the organizations leading the charge is Monarch Watch, based at the University of Kansas.
It created the Monarch Waystation program, encouraging people to plant milkweed and nectar plants.
Chip Taylor, director of Monarch Watch, said that more than 11,600 way stations have remained registered.
He estimates that there are probably three times that many that aren’t registered. It’s a good start, but Taylor’s goal is 20 million acres of milkweed.
Taylor urges people to plant native milkweed. The U.S. has more than 100 varieties.
Twenty are native to Florida, but the one most people plant because it’s available at nurseries is the non-native tropical or scarlet milkweed (Asclepias curassavica).
Scientists worry that because it blooms longer, it encourages monarchs to linger into winter months when freezes can kill them.
So Taylor and others encourage people to plant native varieties such as Asclepias tuberosa, swamp milkweed (A. incarnata), and aquatic milkweed (A. perennis). Native milkweed varieties are available at some nurseries specializing in native plants or through online groups such as Monarch Watch.
The milkweeds also serve as nectar plants for butterflies and other pollinators such as bees.
So look for migrating monarchs and other butterflies flying south for the winter.