Take a walk through the vast Finger Lakes Museum campus this coming summer in Branchport and chances are that you will see one (or two or three!) beautiful monarchs fluttering around you. Because of the museum’s natural plantings and hardworking volunteers that maintain them, they are registered as official Monarch Waystation #31612 by Monarch Watch. This organization is focused on the education, conservation and research of monarch butterflies whose habitats are rapidly disappearing. The Finger Lakes Museum joins over 31,700 other habitats across the US and Canada dedicated to conserving this beautiful floating creature. Check out Monarch Watch to learn more about their program and join in the effort to conserve this vulnerable species. Maybe you can get on the list, too!
Here are interesting facts about the monarch butterfly. Some you might already know and some might surprise you.
DID YOU KNOW…
The monarch butterfly only flaps its wings 5-12 times per second in comparison to 20 times per second of other butterflies. They flap 5 times when they are leisurely flying and 12 times when they are in strong wind or avoiding predators.
Hungry hungry caterpillars
Monarch caterpillars eat 200 times their weight in milkweed. This 10-14 day development stage is when monarchs do all their growing and can weigh up to 2,700 times their original weight by the end of this stage. No wonder they’re so hungry.
Don’t ask them for dinner recommendations
Monarch caterpillars not only eat milkweed but also the skin they have shed. The caterpillars go through 5 layers of skin and use this skin as a tasty snack during their life cycle.
Claim to fame
Texas, Minnesota, Idaho, Illinois and Alabama have claimed this insect as their state insect, with Vermont and West Virginia also staking claim to the monarch as their state butterfly.
Bonus fact: New York’s state insect is the nine-spotted ladybug and the state butterfly is the Red-spotted White or Purple Admiral.
Frequent flyer miles
The first three generations of Monarchs tend to travel through the US and Canada, with the fourth generation making the trip to the final destination of warm, sunny Mexico. They can tally up to 3,000 miles on their migration journey. That’s wider than the US!
Now you see it
The sign below will be proudly displayed in our Creekside Center gardens, so everyone knows just how special they are and who might be visiting!
Learn more about the Finger Lakes Museum by visiting fingerlakesmuseum.org.