Monarchs across the Pacific: the Columbus hypothesis revisited

Zalucki, Myron P. & Clarke, Anthony R. (2004) Monarchs across the Pacific: the Columbus hypothesis revisited. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 82(1), pp. 111-121.

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The Columbus hypothesis' suggests that the annual north-south return migration of Danaus plexippus in North America is a very recently evolved behaviour, less than 200 years old. This hypothesis rests, in part, on an analysis of the 19th century spread of the monarch across the Pacific that assumes a continuous east to west movement and is based predominantly on one publication. We review all the contemporary literature and present new analysis of the data. The movement of the monarch across the Pacific in the second half of the 19th century is best explained by a model which involves no more than three spot introductions, directly or indirectly aided by human movement, followed by natural spread of the monarch across island groups. Contemporary records refer toboom' and `bust' population cycles on newly settled islands, which may have led to high rates of monarch movement. We see no evidence in the records to suggest an east to west sweep by monarch populations as suggested by the Columbus hypothesis.

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19 citations in Scopus
17 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 10126
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: For more information, please refer to the journal’s website (see hypertext link) or contact the author.
Keywords: biogeography, colonization, Danaus plexippus, historical analysis, invasion, migration, transoceanic dispersal
DOI: 10.1111/j.1095-8312.2004.00322.x
ISSN: 1095-8312
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2004 Blackwell Publishing
Copyright Statement: The definitive version is available at
Deposited On: 12 Oct 2007 00:00
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 13:04

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