Monarch Tagging

monarch tagging 2Help Tag Monarchs in McKinney!

You can help document the migration of monarchs, wherever you live, by contributing to monarch citizen science

The purpose of tagging monarchs is to associate the location of the original capture with the point of recovery for each butterfly. Citizen scientists record the date, location, monarch gender and unique tag number for each fall-migrating monarch that they tag and then submit this data to be used in research.

The tags and tagging process do not harm the butterflies, and the data collected has the potential to answer many important questions about monarch biology and conservation.

Every fall people all over North America carefully catch monarch butterflies and place a tiny ID tag on one wing. The tagged butterflies are released and continue their journeys. When a tag is recovered, valuable information about migration is revealed. Journey North has created a report on how the tags are used in research.   

Keep McKinney Beautiful and City of McKinney Environmental Education is pleased to offer tags to residents who are willing to tag, record and submit data to Monarch Watch.

Request a Tagging Kit

You must be a resident of McKinney to receive a tagging kit. Use the Online Request for a Tagging Kit. Tagging kits include directions, a datasheet, stickers and a net. Nets must be returned to Environmental Education after tagging season. City tagging supplies are limited.  

Tagging kits will be delivered or can be available for pickup.  Call 972-547-7335 or email the Environmental Education department for more information. You can also order your own tags from the Monarch Watch store.

A spreadsheet is the preferred format for submission of tagging data to Monarch Watch as this allows us to compile the data in a more efficient manner. The spreadsheet file may be opened, filled out and saved using Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets, Apple Numbers, WPS Office Spreadsheets, Apache OpenOffice Calc or another spreadsheet application.

Download Tagging Materials

Why Monarch Tagging is important

The Monarch Watch Tagging Program is a large-scale citizen science project that was initiated in 1992 to help understand the dynamics of the monarch's spectacular fall migration through mark and recapture.

Tagging was originally used by Dr. Fred Urquhart of the University of Toronto to help locate overwintering monarchs and later to determine the origin of monarchs that wintered in Mexico. The long-range tagging program at Monarch Watch continues to reveal much more. Tagging now also includes the timing and pace of the migration, mortality during the migration and changes in geographic distribution. It also shows that the probability of reaching Mexico is related to geographic location, size of the butterfly and the date (particularly as this relates to the migration window for a given location).  Read more at Monarch Watch.