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In their travels across the country in search of warm areas to hibernate and mate, now is the time that monarch butterflies can often be spotted in Puerto Peñasco, whether in the city or in areas near the dunes at the Pinacate Biosphere Reserve.
This migration phenomenon is being studied for a first time by staff from CONANP at the Pinacate Biosphere Reserve, in coordination with the states of Sinaloa and Baja California, in learning more about the butterflies’ travels through this region. Towards this end, if you happen to come across a monarch butterfly you are encouraged to take a picture and post it to the official Facebook page of the Pinacate and Grand Desert of Altar Biosphere Reserve.
Miguel Grageda, CONANP Coordinator of Management and Monitoring of Natural Resources at the Pinacate Reserve, stressed the importance of learning about the butterflies’ travels through this region as part of its migratory route.
He remarked the monarch butterflies follow a toxic plant known as milkweed (algondoncillo), which grows on the edge of dunes and where they feed to defend themselves from predators. By night, the butterflies seek out foliage trees such as ironwood and mesquite.
As opposed to other butterflies that can be seen in the region over the next few weeks, the monarch lets air currents carry it and only flutter its wings when the wind dies down.
Visually, monarch butterflies are quite aesthetic and delicate, therefore people are encouraged not to touch them but rather let them be. Curiously, they can also be harmful and provoke stomach pain or headaches.
So, if a monarch butterfly happens across your path, please be sure to enjoy it from a distance. However, take a picture and you too can help with studies into the monarch’s migratory route.