The residents and staff of Plymouth Place Senior Living in La Grange Park tagged about 50 monarch butterflies Friday and watched them start their southern migration to Mexico.
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Before releasing the butterflies, the residents recorded the gender of each butterfly, whether it was raised from a caterpillar or captured in the wild, and the date and location of its release. No compatible source was found for this media.
The butterflies were raised on a farm in Wisconsin and shipped to the area overnight, so they spend no more than 24 hours in transit.
Throughout the summer, residents of Plymouth Place released monarchs they raised in their own rooms.
Lori Harris, owner of Salt Creek Butterfly Farm, runs the program, which provides the residents a caterpillar and plants, such as milkweed, that monarch caterpillars feed on. The residents see the caterpillars grow in size, then harden into chrysalises and eventually emerge as butterflies.
The butterflies the residents had been keeping, however, were not the last generation for the season, the only generation which migrates. They were more interested in reproducing than flying south, Harris said.
The butterflies released Friday were ready to migrate. The monarch is the only butterfly known to make a two-way migration like birds, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture ’s Forest Service, because they cannot survive northern winters.The monarchs had been shipped in a Styrofoam box with cold packs within a cardboard box, so they are traveling in a cool environment, Harris said. Each monarch was in its own glossy plastic […]