Monarch butterflies in a Michoacan sanctuary © Tony Burton, 1997

Butterflies by the million : the Monarchs of Michoacán

Every winter, more than one hundred million monarch butterflies fly into Mexico from the U.S. and Canada. On arrival they congregate in a dozen localities high in the temperate pine and fir forests of the state of Michoacán. As a species, monarchs are native to North America, but they subsequently island-hopped their way around the […]

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Did you know? Mexico has over thirty UNESCO-designated biosphere reserves

A surprising percentage of Mexico’s land area is protected in one form or another. A very large number of sites of archaeological or historical importance are managed by the National Institute of Anthropology and History, more commonly known by its acronym INAH. In theory, all buildings more than 100 years old have some degree of […]

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Did you know? Dinosaur bones in Mexico

Thousands of dinosaur bones have been found in northern Mexico. Bones literally litter the ground. Here’s a femur; there’s a tibia; vertebrae, ribs, skulls… Dozens of dinosaurs, including the world’s cheapest, have been unearthed in a broad belt across northern Mexico, from Baja California and Sonora in the west, through Chihuahua, and Coahuila to Nuevo […]

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Did you know? Sheep and environmental damage in Mexico

After the Conquest, Spanish settlers introduced numerous Old World species into the New World. The most pernicious introductions were human-borne diseases, which led to the rapid and tragic decimation of the indigenous population. However, most of the introductions were deliberate, made with the intention of increasing the diversity of available food and resources. Among the […]

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Early map of Lake Chapala (Galeotti, 1837)

Did you know? The first scientific account of Lake Chapala comes from 1839

The first detailed scientific account of Lake Chapala was written by Henri Guillaume Galeotti. It was based on a visit to Chapala in February-March 1837. The article was published first in French in 1839, and then shortly afterwards in Spanish in El Mosaico Mexicano. It remains unclear precisely why Galeotti prepared his excellent article devoted to the […]

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Fishing boat in the Sea of Cortez

Overfishing in the Sea of Cortez: Are sustainable fish farms the solution?

It is occurring at an alarming rate — native populations of fish, mammals and other Sea of Cortez (or Gulf of California) inhabitants are declining, some to the point of near-extinction. Most people familiar with the issue agree on the reasons: commercial overfishing; bycatch victims of all species in commercial and local fishermen’s nets; environmental […]

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Monarch butterflies in a Michoacan sanctuary © Tony Burton, 1997

Migration Minded: The Monarch Butterfly

Mexico experiences one of nature’s loveliest gifts each winter when billions of Monarch butterflies descend on the warm forests of the country’s central highlands. The Monarch is known for its long migrations and this annual journey covers some 2,500 miles-from the chilly regions of Canada and the northeastern United States to the mountains of Michoacán. […]

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Xoloitzcuintli

Did You Know? Mexico is home to oldest indigenous American domesticated dog breed

When someone mentions “dogs” and “Mexico” in the same sentence, most people think immediately of the cute Chihuahua, small in proportions and large in personality but commonly dismissed by lovers of larger dogs as a small and unimportant “toy” breed. But dogs have been important in Mexico since long before the U.S. or Canada were […]

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Hummingbird

Did you know? Mexico is home to more than fifty hummingbird species

Who hasn’t been amazed by the acrobatic antics of hummingbirds? What stunt flyers! They are able to fly not only forwards, but backwards and even briefly upside-down. They can also hover for extended periods. When heard close-up, the rapid flapping of their wings (about 80 times a second) produces the characteristic humming sound that gives […]

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