This weekend, the Butterflies & Blooms exhibition opens for its fifth season.
Early in the year we need to place our chrysalis orders with our suppliers for the season. This was the first time I had placed the order, so it was fun to look through the lists—reviewing what had done well, and adding some that we haven’t had. A field trip to the butterfly exhibition at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum gave us a few new ideas to add to the list. Butterflies are so colorful, and their varied patterns make them a joy to watch and photograph!
Our first shipment of pupae has just arrived. It includes North American species gulf fritillary, painted lady, and white peacock—see them at Butterflies & Blooms.
Most weeks we receive approximately 200 pupae, which are mounted on dowels in the warmth of the exhibition’s pupa room. Visitors thrill at seeing the butterflies and moths emerge from the pupae (or cocoons for the moths). Some emerge relatively quickly while others take longer.
The pupae are all ordered through butterfly suppliers; none of them are collected in the wild. The suppliers receive shipments often from all over the world from the “butterfly ranchers” who specialize in raising butterfly pupae and moth cocoons. They are shipped overnight to us in that state, so all the butterflies can emerge on site.
Get a ten-punch pass for Butterflies & Blooms and the Model Railroad Garden and plan a trip with friends! Passes are available at the exhibition kiosks.
Butterfly species are seasonal—the chrysalides for a species are not available year-round. Our supplier ships us a variety of pupae each week based on what we have requested, but also based on what is available at that time. Some butterflies are more consistently available during the months our exhibition is open, such as the popular blue morpho (Morpho peleides) and giant owl (Caligo memnon). Others may come and go, which is a perfect reason to come to see Butterflies & Blooms more than once during the summer!
Here is a sneak peek at more of the butterflies and moths gracing the exhibition this season:
Butterfly photos ©Anne Belmont, William Bishoff, and Robin Carlson
©2016 Chicago Botanic Garden and my.chicagobotanic.org