Go Inside the Monarch Butterfly Migration at the Houston Museum of Natural Science

ABC News' Gina Sunseri talks with Erin Mills about Monarch Butterfly migration.
15:24 | 11/16/16

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Transcript for Go Inside the Monarch Butterfly Migration at the Houston Museum of Natural Science
Along the butterflies sent. The map aside from Houston you're looking at a price for the butterflies. I'm not and that's good so I'm going to defer to Aaron you know. I think how eighth. I am. My name is Aaron mills and I'm the director of the copper butter flight center and we just lost differently. He's not I don't know if we can find the more we. Why wouldn't apple applied them. C number. About home very good that butterfly as a part of what we call longevity study so basically we have all these butterflies and here and we have a good guess about how long they Lance. But we do these studies from time to time so what we do this week when the butterflies emerge from there Chris closely marked them with a number. And we record all of the fighting so whether we see them alive are where they would find them dead. We record that so we have an idea how long they live while they're in here. About how long. It's part of my life. Well the entire lifespan. Hinted there's a broad range but be adult life spanned that we get in here averages about two weeks. So we have some that may live for a week we have some that mile per month and so we have a nice average of two weeks there you know. Yes we do however regulate the of that and we have anywhere between 15100 in 2000 and here at any time. This could happen. We know we have a ninth simulated tropical rain for so. Most of the butterflies in fact all the butterflies that we have in here are imported from trouble poll. Parts of the world on central and South America southeast Asian up. So we try to mimic that habitat as best as possible so we have high humidity we have warm temperatures. And all year round Sunday of butterflies it's like summer for them all year round it's very nice and comfortable. Thought Vodafone preferred. Some sunny day yeah butterfly hill I think. Right butterflies are basically solar powered saw that can't fly if their body temperature is not warm enough. So what they need to do is they need to find they need to basically soak up the sunlight to get enough energy to flap their putting some fire around fell. Comment they are very still pretty good about it. Most butterfly of kind of and some saves you know either their caterpillar told our Chris looked stable going to what we call it diet posit just sort of like hibernation. They basically slowdown on their body processes so they can conserve their energy and just try to stay warm until it warms up in the no fly and feed them. And go along that way around her. Fine. So we have. This is our men don't listen kind of area that gets lots of sun so we have lots of nectar plants in this area and the from the very popular area to see butterflies flying. During the day we have another rice paper right here these bold are what we supplement their nectar so we provide the natural flower nectar with as many farthest possible. But we supplement it with a sugar water to. Help them get enough nectar. Google. This kind of called a red admiral revenue from. This boy we're at the end of the season monarch butterflies migrate. Texas mex right tell you want my great I'm Kevin. I'm well they might treat because of the cooler temperatures in the north though they can not. Stay there they can't survive those temperatures when it gets below a certain to temperature than they will die so they need to find food and they need to find. A warmer place to take. So they migrate from the northern United States all the way down to Mexico some of them some of them at west of the Rockies will migrate to California. But they can fly upwards of 3000 miles to get to their over wintering grounds in Mexico. The reason why it's so important it's not really that monarchs are in danger there actually. Monarchs all around the world they're they're found in a lot of places but the migratory population. Isn't is in danger and it's just a phenomenon that nothing else they'll look like nothing else the world knows so there's these tiny. Frail little butterflies that make this amazing journey. And so it's something that we want to protect and we want to be around for our children and grandchildren to bill to witness because it's really really cool. Eyes flutter either very important in terms. Pollination they're very important. I'm but what we really don't like them math is an ambassador. In sex. Insects are so important every insect even the ones that you really hate mosquitoes the cockroaches they're all they all have really important. Really important job to do in the environment and butterfly as. With their beauty and this kind of the magic of them they're really symbolic to people. People are really interested in butterflies that they can get to know butterflies and love butterflies and learn about them. That opens up the door for people to want to learn more about insects and maybe Kara little bit more about all the insects which are really really crucial to the planet. Exactly impact Philly. There just aren't laughing no we are batting yearlong trial lasted and then that's. But yes now we we consider them the ambassadors of the insect world. They're definitely important. But they're important to many people for many different reasons and people come in here. From all walks of life and you know they find calm in here they find. Serenity. A lot of people you know feel like. Butterfly as you know our symbol to them about you know people who have passed on there so many reasons why people. Really love butterflies. To the sign. This had to take a lot of time sure it hasn't won. Let's find. And trying to credible process this was built in 1994. And just. You know the specifications for the windows they have two. You know built to withstand. Certain wind speed Theo Casey have her hurt Pena out certain things like that that they had to consider. I'm also it's basically built like a big change greenhouse so that we can sustain plant life in here. Com and that we can sustain appropriate temperatures and humidity and things like that. How my gosh I. If I had to choose one I would probably say the rice paper butterfly it's in many people's favorite I think they're just. They're so graceful and their flight and they're really. They're just very charismatic people really love the right thing about a plan islands and two there really wouldn't they're related to monarch. So they look really similar to monarch and they have this in a really nice since the black and white. Look to them and their concert. When in my favor stricter. Plant disease plants plants plants again colony or garden in the you know week. Butterflies are wonderful to have but you know you want to attract the beans the flies all of the pollen haters are so important. But plant nectar plants. That's probably the most important thing that you can view on to give the butterfly is. Somewhere to get their energy the reason why they drink connectors to sustain energy for flight. They need that to be able to fly around and later egg thank you wanted Robin then with the nectar plants you also want to have host plants available host plants or plants at the caterpillars war heats. Self the more varied your butterfly garden is in the more nectar plants and host plants that you include more successor going to have an attracting these things to your card and so. It's really easy to get on the computer and find out you know what plants are good to play for pollen Nader or butterfly garden and just plants. Especially here in Houston you can you know you can plant almost any time of the year. Saw a few plants the pants the butterflies will come a good. About. Common not quite isn't much but all of you know. Like them the monarchs one of the reasons why that population is endangered migratory population is because of pesticides. And roundup ready crops and destruction of their habitat but the thing thing for fees and and other pollen eaters so. That's why it. The best thing that we can do is to to plant nectar plants for them because those are the main things that are threatening them there's not really one thing you can blame. Blame it on it's really a large you know variety of things that are affecting them so that thing you can do is. Practice natural you know organic gardening don't use pesticides. If at all possible and the split tons of flowering plant. And kind of create a knife we'll have a tattered haven for them. Butter plays concedes. Certain colors that we cannot even detect so but they are really drawn to colors bright colors like teens read. Yellow purple. Both types of colors. And dumped flowers actually you know will be. Be certain colors to attract certain leaders such as butterflies so somebody we don't have any right now but there are certain flowers that wolf if the nectar is empty go like she changed the color of their flower. To let the butterflies know that that was not MTV they're selling them to you need to go find another flowers so the relationship with plans of butterflies of really intricate. And they'd know the plants know exactly what they're doing by producing those types of flowers with those type the color is even the shape of them. Are meant to fit the butterflies for profit fell. Our home belongs to. It butterfly that. Comment yeah well it's my. Future look at some yes certain and certainly some butterflies that are found here in the United States can also be found in central and South America monarch are found. Across the ocean isle but for the most part the same butterflies that are here Reno where most likely to find farther south but on the same you know. Continents that are connected to brother of then ones that are on the other side of the world they're gonna usually have different species. With the exception of of a couple different kinds like it that the monarchs that can be found. Soon if you part of me across the ocean of the well but. Some of the matter without any fly I don't know if you can see that black and white striped are black and yellow striped ones that were flying around those are found in south Texas. And there are also found and central and South America. In hibernation. Absolutely. When they come back with a back for their harbingers. Gas so starting in about everywhere rain and then through march as when they start to make their return journey. So when they're over wintering in Mexico they don't feed. They don't really do anything they they clustered together in trees for warmth and they basically stay there. And still they noticed that the Dave getting longer and the temperatures getting warmer and then they'll start there are return flight home and on the way they will. They will mate they will lay eggs along the way some of the butterflies will not make make it all the way home and fact that their offspring that make it back to their. You know their usual grounds and I'm in the northeast. Yes it's really. A mystery and knowing really understands how. Duck offspring of the butterflies no. Where to go in the winter they don't know how they find their way back to the same over wintering grounds near T year comments really incredible there's a lot of serious but. No one can pinpoint you know one certain thing they just know it's hard wired it's like in their DNA they just know which way to go and so. Along the same lines the butterflies that are that are born along. The way back in the spring they know where to go to get back home sell it says that this could be under the things that make it such an interesting and amazing phenomenon that you know we can't really explain but. It's really cool for us to get to observe from. Oh well I am I actually most of my time here has been spent with all of the bugs that are not butterfly I love the butterfly but I love all insects. I've got into. Yes definitely college I got interested in entomology and college. And missing as I was introduced to it I just I was blown away and it's something that. You what I will be learning until. My last day just there's there's so meant so much to know. And the more you know the more you really is how important these really really amazing creatures are to us and our way of life so. The great business to be and big talk about five. Conned out of the blue and white long lean. We have how we have a lot of long wing thing here they're very hardy butterfly in they live for a long time and they come and lots of variations of colors and patterns. There's a big cluster of long wins right there in that funny five. The moat the long wings are from central and South America I'm. And we do raise some here we raise some of the zebra which are the ones are talking earlier with the kind of dark brown or black with the yellow starts across. We also. Raise Julie along wings Richard just these bright orange butterfly belongings mark are caught here's the Giuliani here. So the funniest bit in your phone light Intel's is this kind of faded and a little bit tattered but. They at this the sake of their wings as where they get their name they do have a elongated wing that's different from some of the other butterflies like her swallow tails or. For some of those this is another type of long lean. I'm Milt how many long waiting couldn't. So we have Alan here's the beaver right are all here we could. Whereas I that there were. Yes so the Juliet and zebras are are native to parts of Texas very very south. I don't know and hundreds and back west and I don't if I had to guess I would say not very fast single item they're not. They are not known for their speed. Such as you know other flying insects such as dragon flies or something like that there it. Dependent about it lights here this of course is smaller they are the work quickly they can they can fly. Who was. I'm from. Well. Just because you know and they sent before in fact. We wouldn't have you know. The amazing. Variety of flowers and and food and fruits and vegetables and and you know things that we enjoy every part of our our way of life and how we enjoy. Life on planet earth is. You know isn't in part thanks to insects and butterflies. So if you like. We are and you love the plan if you should love bug and bugs of all kinds not just butterflies they love the butterflies like if that there are wonderful ambassadors but. You know even down to the lowly cockroach or are immensely important to us themselves. And they're really cool so just love bug their off from. I fear what that's the problem like that Applebee's and the maximum fine we need. It thank you don't.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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