Variation in forewing size linked to migratory status in Monarch butterflies
Long-distance migration can be seen throughout the animal kingdom and can have large impacts on population dynamics and species distributions. The act of migration itself also affects the evolution of a species, as evolutionary forces select for certain characteristics in animals conducting long-distance migration. Monarch butterflies are best known for their annual migration from Canada and the northern United States to central Mexico, but some populations of monarchs have lost the ability to migrate. Previous research found that migratory monarchs had larger, more elongated wings than their non-migratory counterparts and it was hypothesized that these traits were beneficial for migration.