Published: June 1, 2016

Monarch butterflies

Of 20,000 butterfly species worldwide, Colorado is home to nearly 300, among them the monarch, cabbage white, buckeye and Western tiger swallowtail. These winged insects help pollinate flowers and serve as an important food source for creatures as diverse as birds and ants.

Over three generations in spring and summer, certain monarch populations migrate from Mexico to the Eastern United States. The fourth generation flies back for winter, a one-way journey of about 3,000 miles. Western monarchs winter in California.

In April “Becoming Butterflies” opened at the CU Museum of Natural History. The year-long exhibition is free and open to the public. See “Digits” for more on butterflies.

Photo by © iStock/JHVEPhoto