A monarch butterfly born in Boise Idaho spent the winter on the California coast where it was found this week.
This is the first documented case of a tagged Idaho monarch making the journey to California according to a news release from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Washington State University began a tagging program in 2012.
The butterfly was found in a swimming pool in the Santa Barbara area. The butterfly was not injured and flew off after being rescued, the release said.
The butterfly was reared by Idaho resident Melinda Lowe in August. She named the butterfly Monet.
Monet left Idaho in September. She flew approximately 662 miles southwest on a skyward journey across Nevada and into southern California before settling in the greater Santa Barbara area, according to the news release. That area is a common overwintering site for monarchs.
“This is big news. Monet is the first Idaho monarch in my study to be recovered in California, and at six months of age she is the longest-lived monarch documented in this Washington State University tagging effort” said Dr. David G. James, an associate professor at WSU specializing in invertebrate conservation in a news release. “Monet will go down in Idaho monarch history, that’s for sure.”
The news of Monet’s epic journey is made even more special because the Monarch butterfly population is declining, alongside other pollinators. The decline may be due to habitat fragmentation, urban and agricultural development, pesticide use and lack of nectar plants for food, according to the news release.
In the case of the migratory monarch, the lack of native milkweed is believed to be making an already difficult and dangerous migration even harder.
Learn more about the monarch at https://www.fws.gov/savethemonarch/