Why Monarch Butterflies are Bad Muthas

I’ve always loved tigers, orange and black creatures are cool and I’ve added the monarch butterfly to this short list.

Yesterday, I chaperoned my son’s 2nd grade fieldtrip into the city. Aside from my concern about being in a school bus and driving 30 miles south into bustling Seattle, I was tasked with watching three children other than my own. With chaperone sticker on my chest, I kept a sharp eye on the two boys (one my own) and two girls as we wandered through the amazing Pacific Science Center.

First order of business was wrangling the hundreds of children into the IMAX Theater. We watched The Flight of the Butterflies in 3D. In general, I loathe 3D movies because they have no respect for personal space. And it may be just me, but it makes me feel nauseated. But, the 45 minute movie was both entertaining and educational. (And hilarious, since the children kept swatting at butterflies that weren’t really there). I didn’t realize that the Monarch was such a bad ass. Evolution-wise, it’s a miracle—being a fat caterpillar, smartly eating on bitter milkweed (which makes them terrible tasting to predators) to the chrysalis stage and its then emergence as the butterfly. I was most impressed with its navigation skills and its will to survive. I kept thinking that their struggle was like being Chamorro in many ways. I could go off on a tangent, but will reserve that for a future blogpost.

Props to the dedicated scientists and citizen scientists who tracked the miracle of the Monarch, the late Fred Urquhart.


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