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Q:

How fast can a monarch butterfly fly?

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We know the monarch can flap its wings up to 120 times a minute when being chased by a predator. We also know that a monarch uses thermals to fly high, and wind to fly fast, but our questions is how fast can it fly under its own power. A: As you stated, this answer will depend a lot on wind and also temperature conditions. Sonia Altizer and Caterhin Bradley at Emory University in Georgia recently published a paper in which they reported the results of a study that involved measuring the flight speed of monarchs in the lab. When they weren’t tired (at the beginning of their time trials), they flew about 6 km per hour. They can probably fly faster outside, but it’s difficult to measure this under constant conditions. We do know that it takes them about 2 months to get from the northern part of their summer range to Mexico, about 3200 km. Q: The question on everybody's lips is this: How does the tiny monarch butterfly know how to get to Mexico, and why don't all other butterflies go ... more
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