Fargo, North Dakota is famous for its long cold winters. The high temperature forecast for next Tuesday is -3 degrees (F). Fargo is far away from Sierra Chincua, Mexico, the famous overwintering site of the Monarch butterflies where the winter temperatures stay above freezing and snow is rare. The exiting news from Fargo (as reported by Keith Corliss on his blog (latest post) is the story of one lonely male butterfly who refused to fly south for the winter.
On October 15, in the face an approaching freeze, Keith’s friend Dave took pity on the Monarch and brought it indoors. In the summer, Monarch Butterflies live only a few weeks as adults. However, the overwintering butterflies live several months. In nature, the overwintering butterflies lower their metabolism and food intake in their cool overwintering site and wait for spring to mate and lay eggs in the Gulf of Mexico area.
The Monarchs will start to move north in February and lay eggs on the newly emerging milkweed plants in the Southern Gulf states of the US. The adults that emerge will move farther north and produce the next generation. Some of the adults of that second generation may return to Fargo in late spring or early summer.
Dave named his Monarch friend, “Flutter” after its erratic flight. Flutter lives on a diet of apple juice and will feed on droplets suspended from Dave’s finger. Flutter is still alive and in good health (other than a few nicks in the wings) three months (and counting) after moving in with his BFF, Dave. Will Flutter survive to greet the Monarchs that return in late spring? We will have to read the blog to find out. If Flutter is successful, have the Monarchs found a new overwintering site in Fargo, ND?