Monarch Butterflies

Caroline Covington/Texas Standard

From Texas Standard:

Did you know that the monarch butterfly is the Texas state insect? They flutter through the state this time of year when they migrate from Canada to Mexico. But their populations are dwindling. What's more, entomologists are finding masses of dead monarchs, with their unmistakable black and orange wings, on the side of Texas highways.

Texas A&M University professor Robert Coulson led a study about monarch roadkill deaths, and says cars are just one more threat to the insect, in addition to changes in weather, pesticides and more. His team is tracking the number of dead monarchs in order to try to find ways to protect them in the future.

Val Bugh / via Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Go outside. Look up. If you're in Central Texas, you're in a hotspot for monarch butterfly watching.

Mose Buchele / KUT

The annual return of the monarch butterfly is underway. They started showing up in Austin about a week ago, according to the crowdsourced online tracker at Journey North.

And, if you catch a glimpse of their orange and black wings over the next few months, you could be witnessing part of the biggest migration of monarchs in recent memory. 

Montinique Monroe for KUT

Take a look around the next time you’re outside and you might see wings of orange and black fluttering in the sky.

Matt Largey / KUT

Dara Satterfield has a unique way of looking at Monarch butterflies. She thinks of them as “tiny camels.”