Saturday, June 1, is National Butterfly Awareness Day.
There are 265 species of butterflies that call California home. The queen of these butterflies is the monarch (Danaus plexippus) .
I caught a little wormy
A-crawlin’ up a tree.
He wiggled here
He wiggled there
He wiggled right at me.
I put him in a shoebox
And told him “Stay right there.”
But when I opened up the box
A butterfly was there.
I don’t know how it happened
I couldn’t if I tried
‘Cause only Mother Nature
Can make a butterfly.
I just discovered that up in Encinitas, at 450 Ocean View Avenue, is The Monarch Program.
That’s where I’m going on Saturday! They have a 1200-square foot vivarium there. And they’ve been there since 1990! I never knew!
If you happen to be in Balboa Park, check out the two large milkweed plants at the two entrances to the Botanic Building. Monarch butterflies love milkweeds, even needing them for their mere survival, and there are always a couple of butterflies, some caterpillars, and some chrysalises on the bushes. That’s where the second and third pictures above and the final two pictures were taken.
It wasn’t until 1975 that scientists discovered the overwintering sites in central Mexico. At that time, they found a butterfly that had been tagged in Ontario, Canada. There are about 210 overwintering sites in California, with the main one being Pacific Grove, which has taken on the moniker Butterfly Town USA.
The monarch butterfly is the official insect or butterfly for Alabama, Idaho, Illinois, Minnesota, Texas, Vermont, and West Virginia.
There are three overwintering sites in San Diego County: Grape Street Park in Balboa Park, Presidio Park in Old Town, and the UCSD Coast Site on Azul Street. The best time to see these overwintering monarchs is in November, December, and January.
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