Marvelous Monarch Migration

Monarch butterflies migrate to southern Manitoba each year, arriving by early June. Migrating females lay their eggs on Milkweeds, then continue flying north until they die. Adult Monarchs from the eggs laid in Manitoba start to emerge in late July. Because they develop as the day length is getting shorter, they won’t mate and lay eggs. They will fly 3000 km south to spend winter with millions of other monarchs in central Mexico.

Return Trip

Arriving in mid-October, the Monarchs stay in Mexico until March. Then they start to mate and begin flying north. The females start to lay eggs once they reach Texas, but soon die.

Their young will grow and become the butterflies that continue northward. It may be the children or grandchildren of Monarchs that left Manitoba that make it back to lay eggs and start the cycle over again.

Click images for more.

Over-wintering Adults

Some butterflies regularly migrate north to Manitoba each year (4 or 5 species), but they do not fly south again like Monarchs. These species spread north in the summer from year-round populations further south.

Other butterflies (about 17 species) show up in Manitoba occasionally, as strays. When their populations are high, or when a summer is very long, these species may travel north well beyond their normal ranges, sometimes by accident after strong south winds.

Click each butterfly.

Go to WinterBack | Home | Next Go to Conservation