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The migration of the handsome orange and black monarch butterflies from North America to southern Mexico is one of the most fascinating feats of nature. Beginning in September and October, monarchs migrate from southern Canada and the US to central Mexico, where they arrive around November. They start the return trip in July. No individual butterfly completes the round trip. The female monarchs lay their eggs along the way, and the next generation continues the trip. At least 5 generations are involved in the annual cycle. Monarchs are the only butterfly known to make two-way migrations like birds.

Milkweed is the monarch’s habitat and is essential to the monarch’s life. Migrating monarchs lay their eggs on the underside of the leaves, and the caterpillars that hatch eat the leaves before their metamorphosis into adults.

For many reasons, the monarch butterfly population had diminished almost 95 percent since the mid-1990’s.

You Can Help!

The best way to help save the monarch is to plant milkweed.

Every back yard can become a home and habitat for monarchs. By planting native milkweed you will be providing the monarch butterfly a place to lay their eggs, a food source for the monarch caterpillar, and the habitat for pupating monarchs.

Milkweed varieties that are native to Marion County Florida include:

  • Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly milkweed)
  • Asclepias incarnate (Swamp milkweed)
  • Asclepias pedicellata (Savannah milkweed)
  • Asclepias lanceolata (few flower milkweed)
  • Asclepias humistrata (pinewoods milkweed)

Learn more online at:

US Fish and Wildlife Services Save the Monarch Butterfly webpage:

National Recreation and Park Assocation, Parks Saving the Monarch webpage: