Mexico monarch numbers rise

Mexico saw 35% more monarch butterflies arrive to its mountain forests last winter than the previous year. Experts say the rise may be due to butterflies adapting to rising temperatures and drought. Rather than counting individual monarchs (Danaus plexippus), the annual county tallies the number of acres where the butterflies winter before migrating to the U.S. and Canada. Gloria Tavera, regional director of Mexico’s Commission for National Protected Areas, said that the butterflies usually migrate in March, but this year some started leaving in February while others waited until April, apparently varying their timing to avoid heat and drought north of the border. “They are beginning to adapt to extreme climate conditions,” Tavera told the Associated Press.

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Header Image: Monarch butterflies winter at the El Rosario monarch butterfly reserve in central Mexico.