How weather in Texas directly affects butterfly populations elsewhere

Ricardo B. Brazziell/American-Statesman 4/21/12 Naomi Levy,6, gets a closer look with a couple of Monarch butterflies as she visits the butterfly house and garden center during the Insecta Fiesta at the Texas Natural Science Center, in Austin Texas on Saturday, April 21, 2012.

Ricardo B. Brazziell/American-Statesman 4/21/12 Naomi Levy,6, gets a closer look with a couple of Monarch butterflies as she visits the butterfly house and garden center during the Insecta Fiesta at the Texas Natural Science Center, in Austin Texas on Saturday, April 21, 2012.

According to a new scientific study, Texas weather dictates a little more than how much you can expect to sweat on a given day. In what’s being referred to as the “Texas butterfly effect,” a new model of forecasting organisms’ responses to climate change shows that the weather in Texas in the spring directly affects the number of monarch butterflies in the Midwest come summer.

Featured in a recent issue “Global Ecology and Biogeography” and conducted by researchers from Michigan State University, the study found that factors like “violent storms and flooding in Texas” can negatively effect the number of threatened monarchs that successfully migrate from Mexico to states such as Ohio and Illinois.

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So what kind of spring do we need in Texas to ensure a large number of happy, alive butterflies? According to ScienceDaily, a cooler spring with above average precipitation means a higher monarch population.

The model also determined that the prevalence of milkweed plants, what monarchs lay their eggs on, could influence population numbers.

READ: Help monarchs by planting milkweed — but make sure it’s native

According to biologist and co-author of the study Elise Zipkin, more accurate population estimates can help scientists in determining how climate change and extreme weather affects wildlife populations and, accordingly, how better to protect them.

READ: Austin biologist wants Texas to do more for Monarchs

Because of monarchs’ steadily declining numbers over the past decade, they have recently been considered for addition to the Endangered Species Act, Scientific American reports.