2024 Edition

Jaime Rojo

Explosion of Monarchs

Monarch butterflies in fir forests, Mexico, 2022

Category - Into the forest

Explosion of Monarchs

The days are getting longer and warmer in the oyamel fir forests. The first signals of the spring bring with them a remarkable increase in activity at the Monarch Butterflies Biosphere Reserve in Michoacán. The monarchs have stored enough fat prior to the migration, so most of them don’t need to eat much when they are overwintering in Mexico, but they do need to drink, so water or dew must be available to them because they can be pretty active in the heat of the day. To quench their thirst, thousands swarm to the ground near a small stream, where they sip liquid and vital minerals from the wet soil—a behaviour called puddling. Climate change and the water-thirsty avocado plantations that encroach on the reserve are changing the delicate moisture balance on which these forests –and the monarchs– depend.

14-24mm f/2.8 Lens - 1/2000 sec at f/13 ISO 2000