Insects: Monarch Butterfly

March 31, 2014

Monarchs are a symbol of metamorphosis for their ability to transform from caterpillars to adult butterflies through chrysalis. In a similar way, this monarch 22-cent low-value definitive will transform your 63-cent stamp into the current domestic rate. The “make-up postage” stamp features Keith Martin’s unique illustrative style found in the extensive series of low-value definitives issued over several years. Martin notes that “this issue let me take the 2009 two-cent stamp, which depicted the monarch caterpillar, literally to the next level.”

A long distance traveller, the monarch butterfly leaves North America in late summer to migrate 4,000 kilometres over winter to the northwest of Mexico City. The return trip takes four generations. Monarchs are found in most parts of central and eastern Canada and have been spotted as far north as James Bay. Sadly their numbers continue to decline each year due to habitat encroachment and the reduction of milkweed, their food of choice, from the use of herbicides. In fact, recent numbers reached a record low.

In addition to delighting collectors and serving as postage, the stamp will hopefully increase appreciation of the monarch, as it has done for the illustrator of the series. Keith Martin notes, “Helping Canada Post commemorate the complex life cycles of the monarch has renewed my interest in witnessing millions of these butterflies carpet a Mexican forest of oyamel fir trees – it’s a personal bucket-list moment.”