Tagging monarch butterflies
When we were filming the pollinator garden at Irmo Middle School, kids were throwing balls and racing around after their lunch break. Another athletic skill some students develop is based on activity in the garden, trying to capture adult butterflies with insect nets. Both monarchs and viceroys are attracted to plants growing there, they look alike but have different flight patterns. They’re relatively easy to tell apart when they are immobile, viceroys are immediately released but monarchs get a sticker applied to a spot on their wing, tags supplied by the national Monarch Watch tagging program. When one of those butterflies is recaptured, scientists can determine its origin, how far it’s flown, giving information on the activities of these animals. Not all monarchs overwinter in the mountains of Mexico, there are several other destinations.