David Traylor Zoo helps tagging monarch butterflies
Monarch butterflies are on the move, and the David Traylor Zoo is helping with the national tracking effort as the butterflies head south to Mexico.
Director Lisa Keith says butterflies are important to the ecosystem because of their place as pollinators. And like many pollinators, their numbers are dwindling rapidly.
In the past few days, zoo staff and volunteers have tagged more than 150 butterflies. The tagging process includes researching the butterfly’s resting points, determining whether the butterfly is male or female – males have thinner veins and small black spots on their hind wings – and then placing a small sticky tag on it. the lower wing of the butterfly. Keith says butterflies can take off and fly as soon as they are tagged.
The zoo has been involved in tagging through Monarch Watch for almost a decade. It has been registered as a mid-station since 2016 as part of an effort led by the University of Kansas. The butterflies begin their journey from Canada, a journey of about 3,000 miles, and Keith says there can be five generations of butterflies from spring to fall.