From Minnesota to Mexico: How do monarchs know where and when to go?

Monarch on native prairie thistle

Monarch on native prairie thistle

Monarch butterflies, Minnesota’s official state butterfly, spend their summer throughout the Midwest and migrate to Mexico in the fall to avoid the freezing winters.

By now, most have already embarked on their more than 2,500-mile journey south to the sacred pine forests of central Mexico where they will remain in a state of semi-hibernation until spring, clustering onto the trunks and tree limbs of pines, firs, oaks and cedars — the ideal microclimate for their winter survival.

Dr. Karen Oberhauser, director of the UW–Madison Arboretum, joined Minnesota Now with Cathy Wurzer to talk about their journey. Plus, a story about citizen scientists by Melissa Townsend, senior producer at MPR News.

Listen to the full MPR News interview with Cathy Wurzer, October 18, 2021.