Thursday, July 30, 2009

Hellooooo from the Butterfly House!

As I may have mentioned at some point, I spend an evening a week volunteering at a local botanic garden in their Butterfly House. In the evenings it can get kind of slow with not a lot of people around (sometimes the butterflies are lazy in the evening, too), so I often bring my camera with me.

I thought I'd share some of our butterflies with you!

What butterfly house would be complete without a bunch of Monarchs flying around? I thought this picture was interesting because you can really see that little black spot in the middle of the bottom wing. If the butterfly has that black spot along that vein, you can tell it's a male!

This one is one of my absolute favorites. He's called a Gulf Fritillary and until I worked at the butterfly house, I'd never even heard of a fritillary. There are many different kinds, and I love all of the white on this one.

This butterfly is an Eastern Comma. It was difficult to catch the light just right, but when the sun shines on him, the bottoms of his wings take on this amazing purplish tone.

When some butterflies feed, the fold their wings up behind them. Others lay them down flat. And yet others will flutter them around constantly, making it very difficult to get a good picture....!

The two pictures above are the same type of butterfly. If there was anything exotic or tropical in the butterfly house, I would have guessed it was this guy... but no! This is a Giant Swallowtail and he is actually native to Pennsylvania. Who would have thought? And they live up to their name, they are huge! I never saw one of these back in Maryland... and I think I would have noticed :)

And of course... there are CATERPILLARS!
These are caterpillars of one of the longwing butterflies.

With all those butterflies around, there is bound to be a lot of mating going on. We actually had someone come in yesterday and ask right away in a very excited tone, "ARE ANY OF THEM MATING!?!?" Those of us working had been joking about it all afternoon- yes, there were definitely a lot mating yesterday. And then the group of people kept finding them and cracking up at how many were stuck together in various places. Some of them will stay together like that for HOURS. And no... they are not discrete.

So with all the butterfly lovin' going on, you start finding eggs on the bottoms of leaves, and then caterpillars emerge. Eventually they will form a chrysalis. So in the butterfly house, we get to see the entire life cycle of the butterfly!


Christie Cottage said...



Jewelles said...

Wow beautiful butterfies and I learned a few things ty for sharing and teachin me :)

Blessings be on you and yours


Doris Sturm said...

What a great story and those pictures are precious, Samantha. I envy you to be able to spend time with those beautiful creatures.

Thanks for sharing.