After years of decline, monarch butterfly numbers appear to be increasing, after decreasing for the past five years.
As Texas A&M Today reports, Craig Wilson, director of the USDA Future Scientists Program and senior research associate in the Texas A&M Center for Mathematics and Science Education says early figures show a total population of about three hundred million monarch butterflies this year. That's up as much as 144 percent over last year.
Texas is a crucial place for monarchs, Wilson said, adding that the butterflies must pass through the state on their way north to lay eggs.
Milkweed is the only type of plant that monarch caterpillars will digest and Wilson attributes the monarch population increase to a plentiful supply of milkweed in Central Texas
He added that about 500 Texas A&M students are engaged in monarch community projects - planting milkweed in local parks and gardens.