Female Monarch Butterflies marked with letter “E”

Subject: Two Female Monarch Butterflies
Location: Naperville, IL
September 6, 2013 6:46 pm
Hi Daniel!
Because I don’t think you have have enough happy Monarch butterflies, here are two more! Both eclosed yesterday morning, and both will soon be on their way to central Mexico. We ink their wings with the letter E so that we will recognize them in the coming weeks as they flit around our neighborhood, fattening up for their long journey.
All the best to you!
Signature: Dori Eldridge

Monarchs marked with ink
Monarchs marked with ink

Hi Dori,
We are quite curious about your “inking” of the Monarchs you raise.  Do they generally return to your garden?  Do you find them in nearby locations in your area?  Do you have any plans to visit the migration destination in Mexico to try to locate your “offspring?”

Female Monarchs
Female Monarchs

Hi Daniel~
I wish I could claim loftier scientific merit to our habit of marking our Monarchs’ wings, but we do it purely for the joy of identifying one of our “own” in the days and weeks after we release it. As a matter of fact, we do see again quite often the Monarchs we’ve released – both in our yards and in our neighbors’ yards. Friends even a mile and more away have told me that they’ve spotted one of our “E” butterflies fluttering about their gardens. I do keep many of their favorite nectar flowers in my yard, and it attracts Monarchs that come for the flowers and stay to lay eggs all over the adjoining milkweed, fueling my summer obsession. At some point in my life I would love to visit their wintering grounds in the Mexican state of Michoacán, but I don’t have high expectations of ever locating an “E” Monarch among the tens of millions that arrive every October. If I did, I might just die from the thrill. I understand that Monarchs west of the Rocky Mountains overwinter somewhere in southern California – I may have to start there. Where is it that these Monarchs go? All the best to you!

Thanks so much for the update Dori.  Our California Monarchs do in fact gather at over 25 sites along the west coast to pass the winter.  You can read about our California Monarchs on the MonarchLab website.  We have photos of the Pismo Beach site in our archives.

1 thought on “Female Monarch Butterflies marked with letter “E””

  1. Hi Amaris, you don t mention whether she seems weak and sickly? If so, it would probably be best to euthanize. If not, you could always try to release her the next time you have a good window of weather. If she can t fly, you could always take care of this female monarch butterfly until she expires. Good luck!


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