Butterfly travels to SA on plane

Woman takes butterfly on Southwest flight to continue on migration

Author: Myra Arthur, Reporter, Anchor, marthur@ksat.com
Published On: Nov 05 2012 05:42:21 PM CST   Updated On: Nov 05 2012 05:43:54 PM CST
SAN ANTONIO -

A lone Monarch butterfly flew from Albany, N.Y., to San Antonio Monday not on it's own, but onboard a Southwest Airlines flight -- for free.

It was all to help the butterfly make its migration to Michoacan, Mexico, for the winter.

The butterfly emerged from its chrysalis too late to travel with other butterflies and it was already too cold in the northeast to make the trip.

Traveling with the butterfly was Maraleen Manos-Jones, who is known as the Butterfly Woman of Shokan, N.Y.

Jones raises butterflies and noticed just one was about to enter its chrysalis in late September after all the other Monarchs had migrated.

"I said, 'What are you doing here? You're late! Your very late for a important date!'" said Manos-Jones.

That's when she called Southwest.

So why all the fuss over just one butterfly?

"She's a symbol of our times. A symbol of rebirth and renewal," Manos-Jones said.

By the time this butterfly emerged, it was too cold for the butterfly to travel south.

After its release at the San Antonio Botanical Garden, the butterfly is expected to fly to Michoacan, Mexico, for the winter.

But Manos-Jones hopes to see her friend again.

"She will go to Mexico, hang out for the winter, mate and reproduce," she said. "Then I hope we'll find her back here in the spring in the beautiful gardens in San Antonio and say, 'That's our beauty.'"

The butterfly was tagged at the botanical garden before it took flight so it can be tracked in the future.