Habitat Conservation : Monarch Tagging How-To

By: Emily Nason
Posted on:02/26/2019 Updated:03/01/2019

Every fall, monarch butterflies migrate up to 3,000 miles to spend the winter in Mexico. Upon their return in the spring, monarchs need milkweed plants along their migration route to lay their eggs, because the plants are the only source of food their young will eat. Monarch butterflies face many challenges including: loss of breeding and food habitats along the migration route, weather and climate change, predators, pathogens, parasites and less overwintering habitat in Mexico.

However, there are folks out there who are determined to keep the monarchs around. And according to the World Wildlife Foundation, there may be hope! Eastern Monarch population numbers have increased 144% from last year. The large population this year is an encouraging sign for monarchs, and an inspiration for us to continue our work together.

The Monarch Watch Tagging Program is designed to help us understand the dynamics of the monarch's spectacular fall migration through mark and recapture. Tagging helps answer questions about the origins of monarchs that reach Mexico, the timing and pace of the migration, mortality during the migration, and changes in geographic distribution. It also shows that the probability of reaching Mexico is related to geographic location, size of the butterfly, and the date (particularly as this relates to the migration window for a given location).



re: Habitat Conservation : Monarch Tagging How-To
By: Ted Sommer on: 03/04/2019

I have a relative abundance of two varieties of milkweed, and lots of butterflies. What is the best source to determine threats to the Monarch Butterfly?

re: Habitat Conservation : Monarch Tagging How-To
By: Diana Gennett on: 03/01/2019

How can I set up a group in Tennessee to tag the butterflies this year? Will someone contact me to do this? Diana