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Monarch Butterflies Passing Through Missouri

October 4, 2005
By: David Schneider
State Capital Bureau

If you just plastered a bug on your windshield you could have ended the thousand-mile journey of a world traveler. David Schneider has more from Jefferson City.

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If it's bigger than just a speck that "splat" on your windshield could be a Monarch butterfly. They pass through Missouri on their way south for the winter traveling around two-thousand miles to Mexico. Jane Stevens of the Saint Louis Zoo says the butterflies fly and eat during the day.

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Contents: "Oh nectar, all nectar. Butterflies have that long, wonderful proboscis it's called. It rolls up to their head when their not using it, but when they sense something sweet or salty that tongue unrolls and it's like a huge straw. They just stick it into a flower and just suck up all that sweet nectar."

Stevens says Monarchs are the only butterflies that migrate. From the state capital, I'm David Schneider.

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You see them in the air, you see them in the flowers -- hopefully you don't see them splattered on your windshield. David Schneider has more from Jefferson City on the yearly migration of the Monarch butterflies.


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They start out as caterpillars and end-up world travelers, covering routes as far as Canada to Mexico. Every year their little wings carry Monarch butterflies thousands of miles south for the winter, one flap at a time. Jane Stevens of the Saint Louis Zoo tells you what to put in your yard to help the butterflies along.

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Contents: "Flowers flowers flowers, no bug spray. And they should definitely plant lots and lots of milkweed."

Stevens says milkweed is one of the best sources of food for Monarch butterflies. From the state Capital, I'm David Schneider.

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Every year butterflies go through Missouri as they travel up to two-thousand miles to migrate -- if they're not stopped short by your bumper. David Schneider has more from Jefferson city.


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Monarch butterflies pass through Missouri every fall as they head south to warm their wings for the winter. Children may be tempted to catch a butterfly for closer look but Jane Stevens of the Saint Louis Zoo says it's not a good idea.

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Contents: "Children that grab them break the wings by breaking the veins in the wings or taking off all the scales."

Stevens says Monarch butterflies feed on nectar from flowers, especially milkweeds. From the state capital, I'm David Schneider.