- Associated Press - Friday, February 13, 2015

COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) - An expert says more monarch butterflies could be showing up in Texas following years of declines for the iconic orange-and-black insects.

Texas A&M; researcher Craig Wilson on Friday reported preliminary breeding ground figures from Mexico show more than 56 million monarchs. That compares to a low of about 33 million monarch butterflies at similar sites in 2013-2014.

Monarchs migrate thousands of miles between the U.S. and Mexico each year. The numbers have declined in recent years. The monarch lays its eggs exclusively on milkweed plants.

Wilson says more monarchs apparently migrated south during the fairly mild winter. Wilson says lingering effects of the Texas drought have also affected butterfly numbers.

The U.S. government on Monday pledged $3.2 million to help save the monarch butterfly by restoring habitat and for conservation.

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