Listen as Millions of Monarch Butterflies Make One of the Rarest Sounds on Earth

Branch Covered in Monarch Butterflies

Photo: Steve Corey via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 2.0 Generic)

The monarch butterfly is one of the most captivating species on the planet with an unmistakable pattern on its delicate wings. Each winter during the butterflies' life span, a mass migration takes place and brings millions of monarchs to Mexico and California. Unfortunately, some don’t make it all the way, but those who do can relax and regenerate in the warm sun before heading back home in the spring.

Nature host Phil Torres of The Jungle Diaries posed the question, “How many butterflies does it take to make a noise in the woods?” The answer is several million. One dainty butterfly is barely audible; but when a few million flap their wings, they create a magnificent sound. He captured footage of a swarm of butterflies in a Mexican forest as they gathered in clusters on trees and covered entire branches and leaves.

As the sun warms up the insects, the multicolored creatures take flight all at once. Torres’ calls this collective movement a “waterfall,” as their wings flap together to mimic a soothing sound similar to that of falling water.

The monarch butterfly is an endangered species as the population continues to decline—down 26% from last year’s count. Monarchs are threatened by pesticides, climate change, urban sprawl, and illegal logging of the forests where they migrate for the winter. The monarch butterfly caterpillars only eat milkweed, but the plant has been devastated by increased herbicide spraying and other chemicals toxic to the young caterpillars. If you want to help protect this magnificent insect, you can plant native milkweed and wildflowers, which is their preferred habitat.

Ready to hear “one of the rarest sounds on Earth?” Watch the video below and then check out Torres' YouTube channel for more nature-inspired footage.

Watch (and listen closely) as these monarch butterflies take flight!

Phil Torres: Website | YouTube | Instagram 
h/t: [Laughing Squid]

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A Room Filled with Hundreds of Paper Butterflies

Claudicet Pena

Claudicet Pena is a Contributing Writer and Project Manager for My Modern Met. In 2005, she attended the Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University where she studied Business and Marketing. Later in her career, she found herself teaching yoga and meditation full-time, earning the title “Best Yoga Teacher 2016” by Best Self Atlanta Magazine. Claudicet is currently based in Boston, combining her passions for art, writing, and business development. As a creative at heart, she devotes time to her own outlets of yoga, meditation, writing, drawing, and painting. Claudicet also shares her love of arts & culture with her daughter as they explore the city and travel abroad. Explore along with them on Instagram: @claudipena.
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