Brains On! How Do Monarch Butterflies Travel So Far?

Monarch butterflies are unique — they’re the only butterfly to travel thousands of miles when the seasons change.

They travel from as far north as Canada all the way down to a few very specific mountaintops in central Mexico.

They don’t have a car, or an airplane ticket. They just have their two little wings. So we’re asking: How do they do it? How do they migrate thousands of miles? And why?

We’ll also look at why other insects don’t have to travel south for the winter — hint: it has to do with something in their blood. Of course, we have a mystery sound for you to decipher, too.


Brains On! is an award-winning audio show for kids and families from American Public Media.

Science Topics
Butterflies & Moths
K-6, Middle School
4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade, 7th Grade, 8th Grade

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