South Dakota monarch discovered in Mexico

South Dakota monarch discovered in Mexico A tagged monarch butterfly from South Dakota was recently discovered in Mexico, after traveling 1,653 miles during its migration.

The butterfly, tagged through an Outdoor Campus tagging effort in the fall of 1997, was picked up by researchers in El Rosario, Mexico, according to Mary Babcock, volunteer coordinator at The Outdoor Campus. The Outdoor Campus just learned about the discovery when they received a certificate from Monarch Watch, a research agency of the University of Kansas.

Babcock said that The Outdoor Campus' volunteers participated in the tagging study for two years.

Volunteers take tiny sticker tags and put them on a special cell on a migrating monarch's wing.

In 1997, volunteers tagged some 750 of the orange and black butterflies.

The butterfly discovered in the wintering grounds of Mexico was tagged by Bob Buller of Lennox. Buller grows milkweed in his garden to attract the butterflies.

In one day he and his daughter tagged 80 monarchs. One of those 80 butterflies was discovered in the millions of butterflies that winter in Mexico.

Buller said tagging butterflies intrigues him. "I can't believe it would ever be found," Buller said. "I'm very excited!"

According to Babcock, The Outdoor Campus raises and tags hundreds of butterflies each summer.

That was made easier this year with the addition of a butterfly garden to the campus. "Now we have both host plants as well as nectar sources," she said, "to help attract the butterflies to the grounds."

For more information on monarch migration or butterfly gardening, call The Outdoor Campus at (605) 362-2777.

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