Marvels of Monarch Migration

About this time of year in North America, a fascinating phenomenon occurs: monarch butterflies commence their migrations. Those west of the Rocky Mountains head over to the California area. Monarchs in South America have a migration as well, but those are not understood very well. Some of these insects stay put. The most interesting are the monarchs east of the Rockies, who head down Mexico way.

Monarch butterfly migration baffling for evolutionary speculations and testifies of the Master Engineer's skill.
Credit: USFWS / Jim Hudgins
Amazing how the Master Engineer equipped insects with such tiny brains to navigate huge distances. It's startling enough that Pacific salmon return to the places of their births, but monarchs go to areas they've never been before! Several critters make long journeys, and have various methods of navigation. Both migration, and the life cycle of monarchs, defy evolutionary thinking. 


I don't know how it's done, but volunteers help track monarchs, especially since their habitats are dwindling and efforts are being undertaken to save them. If you study on it, monarchs are quite amazing in many ways, including their migration.
In the many years I worked as a specialist design engineer, I came across (and designed parts for) some very sophisticated electronic gadgetry, including navigation equipment for various space and defence projects. The level of technology in the circuits that guided men to the moon is phenomenal. However, the navigation equipment packed into the brain of the monarch butterfly shows, through the incredible feats of migration performed by that creature, that there is a far greater level of technology involved. And it is all packed into a brain no bigger than a pinhead!
This tiny, yet beautiful, insect can perform a migration flight of thousands of kilometres, navigating unerringly to reach a place it has never seen. For instance, some monarchs fly from Nova Scotia, Canada to the mountains west of Mexico City, some 5,000 kilometres (3,000 miles) in all. Not just to the very same place to which their forefathers migrated, but each one often to the very same tree!
To read the rest, flutter on over to "The magnificent migrating monarch".