Frequently Asked Questions

About Butterflies

Do captive bred Monarchs fly to Mexico?

Yes, Monarchs bred in captivity do fly south. We know this because Monarchs reared in captivity are often tagged and recovered in Mexico. Occasionally you here about research that claims captive bred Monarchs do not fly south. Like a lot of public-interest research, the details of this study often get ignored. It is important to know that this study was done on Monarchs reared in captivity for over 20 years, the study was also very small and done in a flight simulator, not the wild. The actual results only showed that these Monarchs flew in more directions than just south. This research unfortunately cannot tell us much of anything because the methods and size of the experiment were fundamentally flawed. Even if Monarchs were released that could not fly south, natural selection would weed them out of the system. If the butterfly can not fly to the wintering location in Mexico they will die during the winter. Therefore, by the nature of the system they could not effect the wild migrating population whatsoever.

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