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Sunday, December 13, 2015

Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus) Mariposa

There are fourteen major butterfly colonies located in these rugged forested mountains, which account for more than half of colonies of the monarch butterfly’s eastern U.S./Canada population. It is estimated that up to a billion individuals spend winter here in any given year.[5] These colonies are dense, with between six and sixty million butterflies per hectare.[8] The reserve areas are found in the municipalities of Ocampo, Angangueo, Zitácuaro and Contepec in Michoacán and Donato Guerra, Villa de Allende and Temascalcingo in the State of Mexico. They are divided into five principal zones or nuclei.[4]
Eight of the fourteen colonies are in the protected area.[5] The colonies proper cover only 4.7 hectares,[8] but the protected biosphere area covers 56,259 hectares.[5][7] Five colonies are open to visitors: Sierra Chincua and El Rosario in Michoacan, and La Mesa, Piedra Herrada and El Capulin in the State of Mexico. There are other colonies near San José Villa de Allende and Ixtapan del Oro, but they are not actively promoted for tourism because of the risk of harm to these butterfly colonies.[12] El Rosario is the largest sanctuary in Michoacán, where the butterflies cover about 1,500 trees.[6]