Wondering Why?

Why do butterflies migrate?

Many species of butterflies actually move from one place to another at specific seasons or times of the year.  The most common species of butterfly that regularly migrates are the Monarchs, Red Admirals, Painted Lady, Skipper, and American Lady among many others.  All these butterflies also migrate for different reasons.  One common reason for butterfly migration is cold weather.  For many butterfly species, the cold weather is something that requires them to go to warmer places for the simple reason that they are not able to properly adjust to the cold conditions.  Butterflies are considered as cold-blooded insects or animals and so they will need to expose themselves to the sun in order to keep themselves warm.  During the winter months, their environment will simply get too cold for their health and comfort.

Another reason for butterfly migration is food availability.  The colder temperatures will literally mean fewer food source for the butterflies, and these are in the form of plants and flowers.  Monarch butterflies, for example, start their migration as early as the autumn months because of food scarcity.  In order to survive the cooling temperatures and to have enough food, many butterflies migrate to the south or to regions with warmer climates.

An overpopulation could also compel other butterfly species to migrate from one place to another.  When there are simply too many of them in a particular area or region, food shortages will eventually result from this overpopulation.  When there are too many butterflies living in the same area and consuming the same food source, there may not be enough food at some future time.  To avoid this food concern or problem, some butterfly species will then move to other areas and establish a new home or colony. In this way, the butterfly species will be preserved for future generations.  Migration in this example is a classic means of survival for some butterfly species.

 

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