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December 15, 2017
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Monarchs hit Mexico

Fritillary butterflies may appear as monarchs from a distance and when spotted in flight. Fritillaries, however, fly faster than monarchs, and their flight path is more erratic.
TRR photos by Scott Rando

November 22, 2016

Reports from Mexico indicate that monarch butterflies have started to stream into their overwintering grounds at the volcanic hills near Aputzio de Juarez (about 100 miles west of Mexico City) during the latter part of October. There is a large number of monarchs in the U.S. that are still making their way south, and surveys to measure population will take place around the new year.

According to a February 26 press release from the Center for Biological Diversity, the overwintering monarch population increased to 150 million butterflies, up from 42 million monarchs counted the year before. This is encouraging news for the monarch, but last year’s count is still 78% off the highs of the mid-1990s.

From reports coming from Mexico, it seems that the habitat loss of the monarch overwintering ground has been halted. A new threat, however, was reported on by the New York Times on November 17; the rising demand for avocados, in large part from U.S. consumers, has spurred Mexican farmers in the area to clear forests for the growing of avocados. Much of the land being cleared has been in the buffer area adjacent to where the monarchs overwinter. The full potential for this threat is yet unclear, but the article implies that the loss of the buffer trees could cause tree loss in the overwintering area due to rising temperatures. The article can be found at