Monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippu) are one of my favourite animals to see during summer, and these winged creatures correspond with summer, at least this is the case in my mind, as I have come to view the world since childhood. They start their journey from central Mexico, a distance of 4,800 km, making this annual flight the world’s longest insect migration. What is all the more wonderful to behold is that this annual migration (both in the spring and the fall) involves multi-generations, Wikipedia explains:
Starting in September and October, eastern and northeastern populations migrate from southern Canada and the United States to overwintering sites in central Mexico where they arrive around November. They start the return trip in March, arriving around July. No individual butterfly completes the entire round trip; female monarchs lay eggs for the next generation during the northward migration and at least four generations are involved in the annual cycle.
While scientists in the last decade have been reporting a declining population of monarchs, the good news is that I have seen more monarchs this year than the combined sightings of the last few years. I have not been able to take any photos of monarchs, but my youngest son did manage to take a picture of another orange- or pumpkin-coloured butterfly, what seems like an eastern comma butterfly (Polygonia comma) during one of our recent nature walks at the park near our place of residence.
Eastern Comma Butterfly (Toronto): This was taken by our nine-year-old son, Eli, during one of our nature walks.
Photo Credit: Eli G. Greenbaum; July 2017