Monarchs and Their Migration to Mexico
Contrary to popular belief, not all monarchs migrate, and the ones that do don’t always migrate specifically to Mexico.
Monarch butterflies are amazing creatures, and the distance in which they are able to travel for migration is even more amazing! The season’s first generation of monarch eggs actually comes from the 4th generation of the previous season’s monarchs. After winter is over, the generation that flew south for the winter migrates back up north to lay their eggs and begin the new generation. You can help the monarch population with their migration and reproduction by giving them milkweed, which will act as a place for them to lay their eggs as they move along.
Not all monarch butterflies migrate as far though. Every season produces 4 generations of monarchs, and the only generation of the 4 that migrates as far a distance is the last one. This is because it is the 4th generation’s responsibility to survive the winter, return to their home region, and lay the eggs for the 1st generation of the following season.
Where monarchs migrate depends on where they originate from, and what generation they are in. The first generation of monarchs that hatch and go through metamorphosis are usually born in the southern states, such as Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Florida, other Gulf states, and even in Northern Mexico.
This generation, the first generation, then continues to move North, laying their eggs in regions such as the mid-South, Midwest, and North. Once the 2nd generation is born in these areas, they continue to migrate and spread throughout the U.S. It’s fascinating that the monarchs know which direction to migrate in without having any instruction from their parents. Their ability to navigate properly is inherently natural.
When they finally get to their last generation for the season, the last generation will begin to migrate south if they were born in Eastern parts of the country. If they were born in the Western part of the country, then they will often migrate to the coast of California. Though this is not a strict rule, as some from either location will decide to migrate to Mexico, or even to the warm climates of the Caribbean.