Monarch Butterflies: An Endangered Beauty

Each and every year, people have stood witnesses to the migration of monarch butterflies. Sighting the migration of this species is probably one of the best attractions Mother Nature has to offer. Monarch butterflies are hard to miss. What makes them stand out among other butterflies are their noticeable black and orange markings alongside a pair of wings which can grow up to 4 inches.

monarch butterfly

Why and When Do They Migrate?

Just like any type of animal, these migratory butterflies move from one place to another because of the harsh seasonal weather of North America. They are highly susceptible to cold weather, so they fly either south or west, in search of a warmer place to settle in (usually Mexico). This usually happens at the start of October, but of course, things may change if the winter months start earlier than that. Their arrival usually happens during one of the most celebrated festivals in Mexico, Dia de los Muertos (which translates to Day of the Dead), and it is believed that these butterflies are the souls of the departed coming back to earth.

Before they fly northwards again for the spring, they mate, lay eggs in the south, and die. As soon as the hatched eggs are fertilized, they, in turn, continue with the process. The cycle just goes on and on.


monarch butterflies migration

Their Biggest Threat

Although we may think that the biggest threat to their species is the cool weather and climate change, the destruction of their natural habitat and the eradication of their primary food source appear to be the top causes. Destruction of their natural habitat can include illegal logging, soil erosion, and ozone depletion, while their limited food source is caused by considering milkweed, which is their food, as a dangerous weed and not as a giver of life to these animals.

What Can Be Done

Milkweed is an important part of a Monarch’s life because this is where it lays its eggs, and it is the only plant their young can eat. Just a few days ago, the Bergen Audubon Society requested the residents of North Jersey to plant milkweeds in their backyards, and for people to stop destroying them if they find any. In addition to this, the society has even donated milkweed plants to certain schools and places where the butterflies are most likely to visit. Although the society’s main focus is the preservation of birds, they recently have started two butterfly sanctuaries.

 

5 of the Most Bizarre Underwater Creatures

Three quarters of the world is made up of bodies of water, the depths of which man has not yet fully explored. Living in this huge marine habitat are certainly a great many species that look far from the usual marine creatures people usually see in marine parks or household aquariums. From simply looking weird to having menacing and highly unique features, here are five of the most bizarre underwater creatures discovered so far:

Carnivorous coral

Carnivorous coral

Corals usually get their food from passing elements in the ocean such as phytoplankton and algae. This candelabra-shaped coral is different though. The carnivorous coral traps small crustaceans with hooks and then slowly spreads a membrane over it, which makes it possible to digest what it caught with special chemicals.

Dumbo octopus

This octopus is just like any other octopus for most of its features. What makes it unique is that it has ear-like protrusions or flaps on the sides of its bell-shaped head. They usually live 7,000 meters below the surface, which means these creatures don’t see the sunlight, and they feed on bivalves, snails, and other crustaceans which they find on the seabed. Because of the natural habitat it prefers, it is known as the deepest-dwelling octopus.

Pink see-through fantasia

Pink see-through fantasia

The name may be reminiscent of a sexy piece of clothing or a kind of fabric, but this sea creature is far from the normal idea of “sexy” that people have. The pink see-through fantasia is a sea cucumber which is present in the Celebes Sea, west of the Pacific. Upon looking at it, it has a light pink shade and it looks somewhat like a jellyfish. Inside, there is an intestine-like organ which can clearly be seen through the sea cucumber’s gelatinous body.

Barrel eye fish

Strange is what may first come to mind when you see the barrel-eye fish. It has a cavernous head which houses its globular and crystal ball-like eyes. The clear head makes it possible for the fish to see with a wider range.

Tonguefish

Reminiscent of flounders whose bodies are flat and whose eyes are on the same side of their body, tonguefish are much like them, but longer. They were recently discovered in the deep bottom of the western Pacific and they have even been seen in sulfuric conditions.

With the great size that the oceans have, there are bound to be several bizarre creatures and these five are definitely just a small portion of them!