The secrets to Monarchs’ multi-generational trips

The link to this article was forwarded to me, and I present it to you as an interesting read: “Using Butterfly Time, We Can Learn Secrets of Our Own ‘Clocks'” (WSJ, 2/8/2008).

That we can learn about the mechanisms of our own internal timekeeping by studying the Monarch butterfly’s mechanisms is not a surprise to me.  What is a surprise (though perhaps it should not have been) is that the Monarch’s vast annual journey from Mexico to Canada and back is a multi-generational one.  That is, the butterfly that completes the journey is the grandchild or great-grandchild of the butterfly that began it–sometimes concluding the task by landing on the very same tree from where the journey began generations before.

I know I am easily awed, but I find that amazing.  I was going to try and summarize some of what is said in the article, but I thought I would take the lazy route and just refer you to the story, itself (it’s not long).  I’m playing a lot of catch up today (and have for a while, hence the lack of posting in recent days), and I should burn up my candle lighting other rooms.  Still, I didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to highlight a wonder of God’s creation that had come to my attention.

God has commissioned us, too, to have multi-generational vision:

For He established a testimony in Jacob,
And appointed a law in Israel,
Which He commanded our fathers,
That they should make them known to their children;
That the generation to come might know them,
The children who would be born,
That they may arise and declare them to their children,
That they may set their hope in God,
And not forget the works of God,
But keep His commandments.

Psalm 78:5-7

If only we were as consistent with our multi-generational tasks as the Monarch butterfly is with his.

2 thoughts on “The secrets to Monarchs’ multi-generational trips

  1. I saw this amazing documentary about dolphins on PBS. A calf became lost when the dolphins ran from a killer whale. The females immediately formed a protective circle around the other calves. The males fanned out in all directions, looking for the lost calf. Meanwhile, the strongest male and a couple of his buddies put the dodge on the killer whale.

    The signal came in. “We’ve found him!” The males swarmed to the location and escorted the lost calf home. The mother went crazy with chattering. The dad was doing back flips in the water. Absolutely amazing stuff.

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