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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

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Picture of the Day —The amazing monarch…

One day you shall flit about again, my friend: Insect Good Samaritans Jeannette Brandt and Mike Parwana rescued this monarch butterfly from a roadside in rural Hadley, N.Y., and patched its broken wing with two white splints. When it regained its health, they persuaded a trucker to drive it to Florida and release it. (Mike Parwana / AP)

Good morning, Netizens...

There are things to marvel at in nature and our lives, but perhaps nothing in nature creates a greater sense of awe than the monarch butterfly that, with its amazing five to eight week lifespan, manages to migrate from various northern areas of the United States to Mexico each year. According to A Monarch information source the monarch migration has completed at the beginning of this month, and they are now beginning their overwintering period. Then there is the “Methuselah generation. As autumn approaches in their sites of migratory origin, a special generation of butterflies is born. Unlike their parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and great-great-grandparents -- all of whom lived only weeks -- these migratory butterflies survive seven or eight months to return northward to mate, die, be reborn and thence to restart the entire amazing process.

If you look at the migratory map of the monarch you may notice there are few Monarch roosting places in Florida, which begs the question what happened to the Monarch in this picture.

Another amazing tidbit is that quite often in the late summer, you will encounter vast flocks of these delicate, beautiful creatures smothering trees and bushes all along their flight path, as they pause to rest up for their migratory travels.

Despite their size, they have few natural predatory enemies. The monarchs feed on the common milkweed plant, which makes them poisonous to most birds and other insects.

What makes them even more amazing is their ability to return to the places where their ancestors hatched from caterpillars into butterflies, and their amazing navigation skills, flying by both day and night, guided by the sun's orbit as they travel. Even on cloudy days they stay on track thanks to an internal biological compass that functions according to the movement of the sun.

We do take nature for granted, don't we?


Spokesman-Review readers blog about news and issues in Spokane written by Dave Laird.