Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Solving the Monarch Mystery

How do monarch butterflies find their way thousands of miles to places they have never seen?
Dr. Orley Taylor of the University of Kansas has enlisted a small army of butterfly hunters - many of them children - in solving this conundrum. Dr. Taylor's Monarch Project is tagging thousands of butterflies in an effort to trace their migration patterns. The monarchs are not like salmon, who return to the stream where they were born: these colorful orange insects make a multi-generational trip across Mexico, the United States, and Canada. At the end, they somehow manage to locate roosts in Mexico where their great-grandparents originated. Do they use light? Magnetic fields? Scent? Scientists are divided. All we know for sure is, as Ian Malcolm liked to say in Jurassic Park, "Life finds a way."

Thanks to Kris Winkler for pointing me to this item.

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