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Monarch Watch Update - August 30, 2005
http://www.MonarchWatch.org
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Contents:

1) Status of the Population

2) Tagging Kit Availability

3) Spring Reports of Monarchs in Texas

4) Monarch Waystation Update

5) Monarch Watch Open House & Monarch Tagging Event

6) Monarch Degree Days For The Last Three Seasons

7) Monarch Watch Online Community Forums

8) Papalotzin

9) Determining Sex of Monarch Pupae

10) Morelia Monarch Conference Books

11) About Our Update List

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Unless otherwise noted, all content was authored by Chip Taylor, edited by Jim Lovett and Sarah Schmidt, and published by Jim Lovett. The complete web version of this update is available at: http://www.MonarchWatch.org/update/2005/0830.html

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1) Status of the Population

What a difference a year makes! Last year at this time I was busy downplaying expectations for the fall migration; there were few optimistic signs. This year it's all, or nearly all,  "high fives" and "thumbs up" for the migration. Conditions really look favorable for an excellent migration. Last month I predicted that the migration would result in an overwintering population in Mexico of 5-7 hectares (all monarch colonies combined). It now looks like the population could be even larger and may even exceed the long term average of 9 hectares - let's hope this is the case. ...

[ Read the full text of this article at http://www.MonarchWatch.org/update/2005/0830.html#1 ]

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2) Tagging Kit Availability

As As we've mentioned in the two previous Updates, we did not initially order as many tags as in previous years (only 200,000) but given the optimistic outlook for the upcoming migration, we decided to have another 40,000 tags produced. Nevertheless, the window of availability is closing fast and we expect to be out of tags early in September. If you plan on participating in our tagging program this season as a part of a tagging event, with your school, or with family and friends please order your tags soon so that you don't miss out!

Monarch Tagging Kits are available via the Monarch Watch Shop online (24/7) at

http://Shop.MonarchWatch.org/category.aspx?c=tagging_kits

or by calling 1-800-780-9986 (M-F 8am-8pm ET)

If you are not sure when you should be tagging in your area, please use the following as a guide. ...

[ Read the full text of this article at http://www.MonarchWatch.org/update/2005/0830.html#2 ]

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3) Spring Reports of Monarchs in Texas

A note on the number of monarchs reported in the spring in Texas.

In the June Update I made the following statement: "As I've pointed out previously, an analysis of observed sightings such as these rests on the assumption that similar numbers of observers are motivated to report their sightings each year and that weather patterns or other events do not increase or decrease the numbers of observations reported." For most of the country, the numbers of spring monarch sightings reported to Journey North come from JN's network of participants and sightings reported to Dplex-L. In Texas, the networks of amateur and professional biologists developed first by Bill Calvert and then by Mike Quinn (starting in September 2000) have generated many of the sightings in that state. The numbers of monarchs reaching Texas in the spring, the environmental conditions encountered by these butterflies, e.g. drought, fire ants, etc., and their subsequent reproductive success are our first clues as to how the monarchs will fair each year. Therefore, the reports from Texas are important and we hope that Mike Quinn will be able to activate his network of observers next spring and for many springs to come.

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4) Monarch Waystation Update

Wow! The number of Monarch Waystations registered has tripled since the last Update - over 200 sites all over North America to date. In late July we announced the availability of online registration and certification via our web site. The process is simple and it takes only a few minutes to register your monarch habitat.

We are excited by the number of new Monarch Waystations! It's evident that this small program, which we announced on the 21st of April, is catching on and will continue to grow. To keep it growing, we will need all of you who are concerned about monarch conservation to promote the Monarch Waystation concept and to encourage others to join in this conservation effort. Some stewards of new Monarch Waystations have contacted their local newspapers, resulting in news stories about the need to create and conserve monarch habitats. These are "good news" stories and they help to spread the word. If you contact a newspaper and need any help or advice just visit our web site for all the background on the Monarch Waystation program, or have the reporter contact us directly.

If you look at the Monarch Waystation Registry online at

http://www.MonarchWatch.org/ws/registry.html

you will see that habitats for monarchs have been created at home and public gardens, nature centers, butterfly houses, schools, zoos, park districts, botanical gardens, and funeral homes. This is a great start and the possibilities seem endless. It sure would be good to get some retirement homes, hospitals, and golf courses on the registry as well, so please continue to spread the word and get others involved in creating, conserving and protecting monarch habitats!

Monarch Waystation Program: http://www.MonarchWatch.org/ws/

Finally, we now have a limited number of Monarch Waystation T-shirts and Canvas Tote Bags available via the Monarch Watch Shop. We announced this in our online forums last week and orders are starting to come in! Each features the Monarch Waystation logo with the message "Create, Conserve, & Protect Monarch Habitats" and the t-shirt adds "Monarch Waystations" on the front left chest. The artwork is printed in a two-tone green that compliments the natural color of the t-shirt and canvas tote.

You can view the graphics and other details in the forum announcement at

http://www.MonarchWatch.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=249

or in the Monarch Watch Shop at

Monarch Waystation T-shirt (item #125872)
http://Shop.MonarchWatch.org/product.aspx?p=125872

and

Monarch Waystation Canvas Tote (item #125874) http://Shop.MonarchWatch.org/product.aspx?p=125874

You can order these items online in the Monarch Watch Shop by using the product links above or by calling 1-800-780-9986. Let us know what you think!

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5) Monarch Watch Open House & Monarch Tagging Event

Monarch Watch Open House
Saturday, 10 September 2005 8am-3pm
More info: http://www.MonarchWatch.org/openhouse/

Join us in person or online!

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Monarch Tagging at the Baker-Haskell Wetlands (Lawrence, KS)
Saturday, 17 September 2005, 7:30-11:30am
More info: http://www.MonarchWatch.org/wetlands/

We hope to see you there!

[ Read the full text of this article at http://www.MonarchWatch.org/update/2005/0830.html#5 ]

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6) Monarch Degree Days For The Last Three Seasons

By Janis Lentz and Chip Taylor

... A comparison of the accumulated degree days for each of the last three years for the cities listed shows that 2005 has been warmer than either 2003 or 2004, except for 2003 in Winnipeg. The result is a higher number of potential monarchs generations this year. The greater potential for reproduction due to higher temperatures could explain the many reports of favorable monarch numbers this summer.

In the tables below, the monarch degree days are shown for Winnipeg, St. Paul, Des Moines, Lawrence, and Dallas for the past three seasons from 15 July through 23 August. For the complete degree day data, from the average date of first arrival of monarchs for each of these cities, please see the July Update. We will add to the tables below through the September Update. ...

[ Read the full text of this article at http://www.MonarchWatch.org/update/2005/0830.html#6 ]

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7) Monarch Watch Online Community Forums

It has been just over a year since we launched the Monarch Watch Forums online. The forum community continues to grow and we are now at 382 registered users (at least 10 countries represented) and over 900 articles.

This new community is off to a great start but it is obvious that there are a lot of you out there that haven't checked it out yet or are just "lurking" (nothing wrong with that) instead of joining in ;-)

We are continually tweaking the online forums and would love feedback so that we can mold them into something that is really useful and satisfies the needs of this wonderful monarch community.

I encourage everyone reading this to give the forums a try, send us feedback and help us build a stronger online community for Monarch Watchers all around the world. So what are you waiting for? Head on over to

http://www.MonarchWatch.org/forums/

take a couple of minutes to register, then read through the ANNOUNCEMENTS and join in!

If you have any questions about using the forums please feel free to drop us a line anytime. ENJOY! :-)

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8) Papalotzin

Can you imagine following the flight of the monarchs to Mexico in an ultra-light aircraft? It could be fun, exciting, dangerous, a great logistic challenge, and an extraordinary adventure. ...

The flight will (tentatively) pass through the following cities: Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Breslau (near Cambridge), Point Pelee, and Niagara Falls in Canada, New York state (and perhaps NYC), Washington, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Lawrence, Oklahoma City, Dallas, Austin, Del Rio, Eagle Pass, then into Mexico to Monterrey, Saltillo, Queretaro, Morelia and Valle de Bravo.

[ Read the full text of this article at http://www.MonarchWatch.org/update/2005/0830.html#8 ]

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9) Determining Sex of Monarch Pupae

We often receive inquiries about how to determine the sex of pupae. The "how to" can be found on our web site at: http://www.MonarchWatch.org/biology/sexing.htm. The text is accompanied by a line drawing showing the anterior-posterior line on the ventral side of the abdomen on the 8th sternite (abdominal segment) that distinguishes a female from a male, which has only a slight depression at this location. While this verbal description is clear, unless you are put off by the terminology, and the line drawing shows you what needs to be seen, there is nothing like a good picture. Ron Brancato, the artist who created two of the monarch posters that can be found in the Monarch Watch Shop, recently sent us a wonderful photo montage that clearly show the differences between male and female pupae. We wish to thank Ron for thinking of us and allowing us to use the image.

Pupae image: http://www.MonarchWatch.org/update/2005/0830_pupae.html

Life Cycle of the Monarch Butterfly Poster II: http://Shop.MonarchWatch.org/product.aspx?p=125560

Life Cycle of the Monarch Butterfly Poster: http://Shop.MonarchWatch.org/product.aspx?p=113204

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10) Morelia Monarch Conference Books

Last month we announced the availability of about 20 books from the Monarch Conference held in Morelia, Mexico in 1997. They're gone! Thanks to all of you who expressed an interest in this publication - we are sorry we didn't have enough books to fulfill all the requests. We appreciate the contributions received above and beyond the cost of shipping. If we find any more books as we continue to organize our space we'll let you know!

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11) About Our Update List

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Monarch Watch ( http://www.MonarchWatch.org) is a not-for-profit educational outreach program based at the University of Kansas. We run a Monarch tagging program and offer Monarch Rearing Kits, Monarch Tagging Kits, and other educational/promotional materials that allow you to actively experience the monarch life cycle and its spectacular fall migration.

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