Butterfly Pavilion Opens
|Date:||Sunday, April 8, 2012 | 10:00 a.m. PDT|
|Location:||Natural History Museum|
A Living Exhibit
More than 53 different butterfly and moth species and an array of plants take up residence every summer for our much-anticipated seasonal exhibit, the Butterfly Pavilion. Wander through a unique changing ecosystem,witness free-flying creatures interacting with plant life, and emerge with a better understanding of the environment needed for the survival of these spectacular animals.
The Butterfly Pavilion showcases the fascinating dance between butterflies, moths, and the plants that surround them, an interaction that has been refined over the course of millions of years. See up close how butterflies use their tubular mouthparts to obtain nectar and witness caterpillars feed on leaves and go through the process of their transformation into adults. Various butterflies are present at different points during the season and the plants will grow and change. This means that each visit to the Butterfly Pavilion throughout the summer can be a different experience!
Butterflies from Near and Far
Some butterflies in the exhibit mate and lay eggs, however we regularly fill the pavilion with butterflies from all across the United States. Over half of the species we exhibit are oft-seen locals such as the monarch, mourning cloak, and California dogface. Some of the more exotic butterflies are shipped in from all across the country.
Bringing Natural History Back to Life
Natural history museums work to understand the natural world by obtaining and studying specimens that they collect. We ask questions and learn: Why does it look like that, how does it fit into the natural world, why is it a successful species? We share the knowledge we gain through research, by creating new live environments such as the pavilion to describe what we are studying behind the scenes in the Museum’s lab or out in the field.
This pretty sulfur butterfly has been designated our official state insect by the California State legislature. It can still be found in the foothills and lower mountain slopes where its larval host plant, false indigo, is common. Only the male butterfly has the pattern of a dog’s head on its wing from which the species gets its common name.
Monarchs are one of the most identifiable butterflies in North America and visitors often ask about their migration to Mexico each winter. The Monarchs in our area do not migrate south to Mexico. Instead, they fly to groves along our coastline to over winter.
These beautiful swallowtails are common in the Eastern U.S. where they are easily noticed because of their tendency to fly low and flap their wings slowly when visiting flowers for nectar. Their larvae are equally noticeable: