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Last Updated: Thursday August 04 2005 12:25 GMT

Butterfly migration to be tracked

Monarch butterfly
Scientists hoping to find out more about the monarch butterfly's annual migration are hoping to join the creature in its journey this year.

Every year millions of the orange and black insects fly 4828 km (3,000 miles) from Canada to Mexico for the winter.

Experts don't really understand why the butterflies do this, so a team from the animal charity the WWF are preparing to fly with them to find out more.

The insects will be tracked by an ultra-light plane carrying the team.

The plane, which is painted red and black to look like a monarch butterfly, will take off from Montreal on 20 August.

The journey following the butterflies is expected to take 75 days, arriving in Mexico in November.

Long journey

Monarch butterfly
When the butterflies fly north, they lay eggs and then die near the borders of Mexico and the US, and the US and Canada. The next generation of insects then continues the journey.

But monarchs make the flight back down south in just one journey.

By travelling alongside them, scientists also hope to raise awareness of the lives of the insects.

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