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Monarch Butterfly: Mysterious Migrator

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  • Format: Folded Tract
  • Size: 3.5 inches x 5.5 inches
  • Pages: 8
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The full text of this tract is shown below. (Do you want to print this tract in a different version than the one listed? Contact us and let us know what you're looking for—we may be able to create the alternate version for you at no charge.)

We have discovered many amazing mysteries about monarch butterflies. Consider the following:

1. All butterflies and moths have microscopic scales on their wings. Monarchs have about 1 million scales on their four wings.

2. Monarchs’ entire body, other than their eyes, are covered with 30 different kinds of scales.

3. Each monarch butterfly has two compound eyes, each having about 6,000 simple eyes, enabling them to see in all directions.

4. They can see all the colors we can see plus ultraviolet light.

5. The male emits a chemical (pheromone) into the air that attracts females. A female can detect it as far as two miles away!

6. The female lays her eggs on a milkweed plant. She evaluates the plant by tasting it with her legs. Her taste sensors are 2,000 times as sensitive to the taste of sugar as human taste buds.

7. The female lays between 400 to 800 eggs.  

8. Monarchs start off life as an egg. From the egg emerges a caterpillar. Then after a lot of growth the caterpillar produces a chrysalis where an amazing transformation takes place.

9. What happens in the chrysalis is astounding! The caterpillar does not just grow wings. It first dissolves into a green fluid during the first 16 hours and remains in that state until the sixth day. However, it has a small heart pumping during this time. Then the fluid forms into the adult butterfly!

10. On the eighth day the adult butterfly emerges.

11. The adult migrates from the northern U.S. and Canada to Mexico. Those migrating from Canada fly about 3,000 miles! Their trip takes about 8 to 10 weeks. They average about 42 miles per day.

12. Monarchs are the only insect known to migrate annually over long, continental distances.

13. In their northern home they only live about 60 days.

14. The adults reproduce during their stay up north but those born in the fall cannot reproduce.

15. This generation flies to the same part of Mexico where their ancestors visited. But none of them has ever been there before and they each make this journey flying solo!

16. They spend the winter in Mexico in a state of semi-hibernation. In the spring they become able to reproduce and fly north, laying eggs along the way.

17. Some of these butterflies make it all the way back home.

18. Others don’t make it all the way back but their offspring or the third generation return to the same place where their ancestors were born!

19. It is believed that they perform this feat of navigation by using the sun and the earth’s magnetic field. They use their antennae to track the sun!

The instructions in the monarch butterfly’s DNA enable it to develop from an egg into a caterpillar. But then there must be additional instructions for the formation of the chrysalis, the dissolving of the caterpillar, and the final formation of the adult form. All of these instructions must be accessed at the right time with no confusion. What causes this precise accessing? It is certainly not done by the butterfly’s intelligence. The accessing must also be programmed into the DNA. It may be said to be like having multiple sets of instructions in one instruction manual. How could this highly organized complexity have possibly arisen by chance changes in the DNA?

In addition, the migration of these insects is marvelous! The information to perform this is also transmitted from one generation to the next in the DNA. This causes the brain to develop in such a way that certain environmental cues evoke a complex behavioral response resulting in the migration to a precise location. This is accomplished by using complex organs to respond to the earth’s magnetic field and the ever-changing location of the sun. All of this high-tech sophistication is located in an extremely tiny butterfly brain!

So, monarch butterflies have several features which each demand an intelligent designer: their ability to reproduce, their development (metamorphosis), their ability to fly, and their ability to migrate long distances to precise locations. It is certain that the monarch did not design itself. And it is also certain that no humans were involved in the design of this creature. The Designer has an intelligence far beyond that of humans.

Yet some ascribe the origin of monarch butterflies to natural causes—no intelligence involved at all! Could these sophisticated living things be the results of physical processes—different kinds of energy interacting with matter? Or is it more reasonable to believe that an intelligence far beyond ours is responsible for all these wonders? We never see physical processes producing high states of organization. In fact, energy interacting with matter always decreases any organization that might be present. A bicycle left out in the elements, subject to sunshine, lightning bolts, wind, etc., will always be degraded. It will never change into a motorcycle, or even a better bicycle. Since natural processes could not have produced monarch butterflies, they must be the products of something beyond nature. Therefore, we conclude that this physical universe is not all there is. There must be a God!

But some object to the existence of God because of the evil and suffering we see in this world. However, these terrible realities in no way negate the above conclusion. So, what is the explanation for these negative aspects of creation? Why does God allow evil to exist? Since God is so great, as we realize from the things we see, it is reasonable to believe that He is superior to us in all ways. So, there must be an explanation for the existence of evil and suffering.

If we have a sense of justice, then God is even more just. And, if we can love our children, then God must love us even more. So, since we do not always see justice and love prevail in this world, we conclude that this life is not all there is. There will come a day when God will judge us to see who is fit to inhabit a new and better world, where justice and love will prevail.

The question now arises—what must we do in order to enter that better world? In the Bible, God tells us that we must repent because He will judge the world in righteousness (Acts 17:30,31). To repent means to turn to God and to seek to do His will in all things. For those who repent, God has graciously provided a way that we may receive forgiveness for all the wrong doings of our past. This way is Jesus Christ. He died for all our wrong doings and rose again from the dead, conquering death itself. Through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ’s sacrifice for our sins, we can be forgiven and therefore be assured that we will be in that better world to come in which there will be no death nor any evil or suffering. If God can dissolve a caterpillar and transform it into a beautiful butterfly, He can raise us from the dead and transform us into His glorious children!

If it is your desire to repent, just tell God that is your intention and ask Him to help you to live a life in accordance with His will. Then read the Bible, especially starting with the New Testament, to learn how God wants us to live. If you are really serious about doing God’s will, you will find that this is not always easy. Others will seek to influence you away from that. And even our own selfish inclinations are contrary to doing God’s will. To get extra help, get involved with others who are also seeking to do God’s will. There are millions of such people all over the world. You can find them in Christian churches where the Bible is believed. Pray and ask God to direct you into such a church. You might want to use the internet to look up Bible believing churches in your area.

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