4th Generation Monarch Butterflies, the River Warriors, and the Indian River Lagoon

Fourth generation monarch butterflies are made for the long haul.
Fourth generation monarch butterflies emerge from their chrysalises uniquely made for the long-haul…(Photos by Ed Lippisch)

photo photo monarch.flightpath


When the pressure and destruction of last summer’s releases from Lake Okeechobee and the local canals overcame my world, I decided I needed to do something to keep a positive attitude; I started a butterfly garden in my yard.

It has been an amazing experience learning about the “hosts” plants that imediately bring a specific butterfly to the garden; the nectar plants the butterflies can “eat;” the eggs and “Transformer- like,” funny,  caterpillars that emerge to consume the host plants; the chrysalises that hang like Christmas bulbs everywhere; and finally the spectacular emerging butterflies.

So far, I have mostly had zebra long-wing, various swallowtails, dagger-winged, gulf fritillary, and monarchs. Each has their own cool story, but the monarch has something special as far as “inspiration” goes, and I liken it to the Indian River Movement, or the “River Warriors” as its been coined.

No one can explain the following, as God has made the world a mystery, but the fourth generation of monarch butterflies is genetically programmed, unlike the rest of its family heritage, for the “long haul,” to make the migration.

For me this is like the Indian River Movement, the “River Warriors.”

Yes, we are the fourth generation of Martin County’s pioneer residents trying to save the river. The area’s first generation started as early as  the beginning of the 1900s.

In case you are unfamiliar, let me explain.

According to scientists, the first three generations of monarch butterflies  live around 4-6 weeks flying, breeding and eating, but the 4th generation of monarch butterflies are different. They  live 6-8 months and are the only generation to participate in the long haul “migration,” as seen on the map above.

We, the River Movement of 2013, are the river movement’s 4th generation. The “long-haul” generation. We will take the Indian River Lagoon further than most, closer to the finish line.

In conclusion, life is a mystery, and much is not completely understood…

But what is understood, is that we, the River Movement of 2013, are a generation that is different!




Monarch migration maps: (https://www.google.com/search?q=monarch+migration+map&client=safari&rls=en&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=ZYdGU-MsxpvZBYrBgKgP&ved=0CCoQsAQ&biw=1897&bih=803)

Monarch butterflies, 4th generation difference: (http://www.monarch-butterfly.com/monarch-butterflies-facts.html)

8 thoughts on “4th Generation Monarch Butterflies, the River Warriors, and the Indian River Lagoon

  1. Great insightful Facebook comment by indian river keeper marty baum:

    Very good analogy Jacqui, well done.. perhaps it IS our time, only hard work, education, and devotion to cause will turn the tide. Interesting that this subject should arrive today. Awhile back, I collected and then planted two milkweed seeds each into more than 60 seedling pots. I began my own “milkweed project” to provide more milkweed for monarchs in Robin’s Garden. Robins Garden is for butterflies and hummingbirds and it works. She has intrusted me to futz around in it and continually brings home stuff for me to plant. I am trying to gather “native to Florida” specie to enhance the habitat, but for now, the seedlings are Tropical Milkweed (Asclepias curassavica) a non native that has some detractors. I considered the minuses, and overruled them under the premise that at this point of Roundup forced extinctions of milkweed populations worldwide, Monarch’s need help. Sooooo, over the last couple days Robin and I have discussed locations for all these seedlings and today is the day I was to begin transplanting. Now, I went out to the flat of seedlings to look them over with transplanting in mind, and made a discovery. Some leaves began missing two days ago, and this morning I discovered at least ten Monarch caterpillars munching on the seedlings. About an inch long each. We had two mature caterpillars sneak off and go to chrysalis stage last week, but could not find them, so I am seriously pleased to find some more. We had witnessed Monarch butterfly’s laying eggs, but wasps were predating the small caterpillars before they could mature. We will witness the egg laying, see the egg location and then a few days later a small eaten hole will appear, but the caterpillars disappear. I watched a wasp hunting one so now I know for sure. I will be devising some sort of screen enclosure for these today. Anyway, my milkweed project continues, thanks for YOUR efforts!

  2. Very well written. We have 10 acres of milkweed that we let grow specifically for these beautiful creatures. . . .in coastal Georgia . . . . thanks for your efforts

  3. We released some Monarchs at Easter as Stella usually does.

    W.E. “Ted” Guy, Jr.

    643 SW Fuge Rd

    Stuart, Fl 34997

    (772) 287-4106 (home)

    (772) 485-1866 (cell/car)


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