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Showing blog posts tagged with "Butterflies"

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Building the Butterfly Conservatory

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Now in its fourteenth season at the Museum, The Butterfly Conservatory: Tropical Butterflies Alive in Winter! draws thousands of visitors each year, transporting them to a tropical ecosystem lush with vivid, live flowers and filled with hundreds of spectacular butterflies and moths. But while the flora and fauna are quite real, the conservatory is the product of careful planning and design by the Museum’s Exhibition Department, which creates a “natural” garden using artificial lighting,precipitation, and climate control.

Tags: Butterflies

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Student Tracks Butterfly Flower Preferences

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When 12-year-old Katelyn took a field trip to a butterfly exhibit, she wondered why butterflies chose certain flowers over others when it came time to feed.

The question led Katelyn to conduct an experiment that tracked painted lady butterflies’ flower preferences. Her project, which earned her a 2011 Young Naturalist Award, is described in the essay Butterfly Buffet: The Feeding Preferences of Painted Ladies.

Tags: Butterflies, Young Naturalist Awards

Last Chance: Butterfly Conservatory Closes May 30

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Catch The Butterfly Conservatory: Tropical Butterflies Alive in Winter, a live-animal exhibition where visitors can mingle with up to 500 butterflies among tropical flowers and vegetation, before it closes on Monday, May 30.

Watch as Hazel Davies, manager of Living Exhibits at the Museum, and Whitney Doreen Ortiz walk through the vivarium and interact with butterflies from around the world, including blue morphos, striking scarlet swallowtails, and large owl butterflies.

Tags: Butterflies

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The Butterfly Brief: Heliconius cydno

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Butterflies that belong to the Heliconius genus, known colloquially as longwings, have discovered the secret to butterfly longevity. Like most members of the order Lepidoptera, longwings sip nectar from flowers using a straw-like organ called a proboscis. What distinguishes them from fellow butterflies — and moths — is that longwings can broaden their diet beyond these sweet liquids — which, in turn, is thought to extend their life.

That’s because Heliconius butterflies are able to ingest pollen by secreting enzymes onto their proboscides. When these enzymes mix with pollen grains, they create a protein-rich liquid that the butterfly can absorb. Longwings spend hours collecting and processing pollen grains and depositing them at other stops along the way. The plants pay them back, big time: the amino acids found in pollen are thought to increase egg production and lifespan up to eight months, making longwings one of the longest-living groups of butterflies in the world.

Tags: Butterflies

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