Blog and photos courtesy of Brian Overcast, Niteo’s Mexico Guide, who lives in Morelia.
Scientists didn’t know where the monarch butterfly went to winter until January 9, 1975. I know that because my dad had the National Geographic magazine with that story on the front cover. After searching for decades, the Canadian scientist Fred A. Urquhart, an entomologist at the University of Toronto’s Scarborough College, received a phone call from an American living in Mexico named Kenneth Brugger.
“We have located the colony. We have found them — millions of monarchs — in evergreens beside a mountain clearing.”
Now we know the monarchs that migrate to the Rosario Sanctuary in Michoacán are super monarchs. Larger and stronger than the previous three generations, they are specially equipped to make the long journey. After arriving, they hang on tall Oyamel trees like dead leaves during the coldest months. When the sun hits them in late February and early March, they began to wake up, just in time for next year’s Niteo Tour.