Butterflies leave Ontario with a little souvenir

Ellen Riggins, a naturalist living east of Dryden, in northwestern Ontario, took part this summer in a citizen science project that aims to study monarch butterfly migrations by tagging them.

After spotting some twenty monarch caterpillars in a massive milkweed, the favorite flowers of these insects, Ms. Riggins decided to contact Monarch Watch to order self-adhesive labels.

There is a special technique to take [the monarchs] and a specific place to put the label before putting them on the plant , says the naturalist, who managed to catch ten butterflies.

The small stickers include the Monarch Watch website address, a phone number, and a unique identification code for Ms. Riggins, allowing you to know where the butterflies went before they migrated to Mexico.

If someone finds a butterfly with one of my labels, I’ll be contacted, adds Ms. Riggins who admits the odds are pretty slim. It would be fabulous!

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