Tropical butterflies in botanical garden hothouse

This video says about itself:

Winter, frost and sun in the the Leiden Botanical Garden

Music: Bach Lute BWV995.

From the blog of the tropical hothouse in the botanical garden of Leiden, the Netherlands:

Butterflies in the Victoria Glasshouse

27 May 2014

Where are the butterflies?

There are a few, but not very many. We would like to show you some butterflies, but we are a botanical garden so the plants are our main focus.

Which butterflies can you see here?

Butterflies from Central and South America feel especially at home in this glasshouse, as do the plants on which their caterpillars feed. A maximum of five species can be seen here:

Morpho peleides and Caligo
Dryas julia
Greta oto (glasswinged butterfly)
Heliconius (longwing butterfly)

Caterpillar food plants

The caterpillars of the Morpho peleides (emperor butterfly) feed on leaves of various plants in the legume, or pea, family. A relative of the morpho, the Caligo memnon (owl butterfly), can be seen here too. The caterpillars of this species feed on banana leaves.

The Heliconius (longwing butterfly) and Dryas julia (orange longwing butterfly) lay their eggs almost exclusively on passiflora plants. These plants are poisonous but this doesn’t affect the caterpillars. In fact, they become poisonous themselves.

The Greta oto (glasswing butterfly) does not like very high temperatures and thrives best during the winter and spring. This inconspicuous caterpillar feeds on the highly poisonous Cestrum nocturnum. Just like the longwing butterflies, the caterpillars are not harmed by this poison but become poisonous themselves.

10 thoughts on “Tropical butterflies in botanical garden hothouse

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