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Monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus), Amistad National Recreation Area, 2015.
The monarch is the most familiar North American butterfly and considered an iconic pollinator species. The eastern North American population is notable for its annual autumn southward migration to Mexico which covers thousands of miles. Interestingly, the return journey north covers the same distance but is multi-generational. The western North American population doesn't usually migrate as far south. Unlike other butterflies that can overwinter as larvae, pupae or in their adult form, monarchs simply cannot survive cold winters. So, using environmental cues the monarchs begin traveling south for winter using a combination of air currents and thermals to travel long distances to reach their winter home - up to 3,000 miles!
U.S. National Park Service
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Amistad National Recreation Area, Code: AMIS
Title: Amistad National Recreation Area
Organization: Amistad National Recreation Area
Address: 4121 Veterans Blvd, Del Rio, TX 78840-9350

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