KENTUCKY (FOX 56/WKYT) – A monarch butterfly that was tagged in Kentucky has been found all the way down at a butterfly preserve in Mexico.
Monarch are native to Kentucky, but migrated to the south every winter. The monarch butterfly is usually noted by their bright orange color and can be seen in Kentucky in the summer and early fall.
“They travel from Mexico up in stages throughout North America, up even into Canada,” said Jonathan Larson, extension entomologist at the University of Kentucky.
Larson says that these butterflies, like most bugs, don’t do well in the cold and have to travel somewhere warmer to survive the winter.
The one that was discovered in Mexico from Kentucky, it will go a little further north from Mexico into the south part of of the US into Texas and scenarios like that. They will mate and then its grandkids, or maybe even its kid, will end up in Kentucky,” Larson said.
Unfortunately, the butterfly found doesn’t have the lifespan to travel back, but it’s important to study the species migration patterns.
“We really want to know where do they go, where they come from, how they get to where they are coming from and people are very concerned about the monarch butterfly populations,” Larson said.
That’s why Kentucky Fish and Wildlife tags them from August to October and Kentucky Wild hosts an annual tagging event.
“The sticker does go over the wings, so I think there is one on each side like a button that goes on one of the four wings the larger of the two pairs,” Larson said.
The process in harmless to the butterfly and, in return, can tell us information about the butterflies future as their population continues to drop.
If you would like to help with the annual tagging event you can reach out to Kentucky Wild.