Wednesday, May 16, 2007

White River Gardens Butterfly Exhibit

I went to White River Gardens today before meeting up with friends at the Indy zoo, (the zoo and the gardens are connected so you get to see both with admission). It was so nice to take my time at the garden, I had never been before and was glad no one was with me to rush me along. I especially enjoyed the butterfly exhibit. It was a bit difficult to get pictures because there were so many school children there.
I am trying to identify the butterflies from my National Audubon Society Field Guide. I believe the orange butterfly is a Julia Fritillary and the other one I think is a buckeye.

These may be northern eyed browns.


The black and white striped one is a zebra long wing. This is an interesting fact about the zebra butterfly; the female pupae releases an odor to attract the male. The males mate with the fully developed females while they are still in their pupal cases. During the mating the male releases a chemical which acts as a chastity belt to repel other males.

The butterflies love the lantana.

This looks like a swallowtail to me, since it has the spots along the wings, but since the tail is missing I'm not certain, however I don't see a blue swallowtail in the book.

I wish I could have gotten a better picture of this because it is very interesting. They get a shipment of chrysalises in every two weeks and they glue them to the poles in this box according to species. This is where they emerge and dry their wings before being set free in the observatory. We were told that the butterflies have a very short life span of about two weeks.


Carol said...

White River Gardens is indeed a beautiful place to visit. I hope you were able to also go outside and wander through the gardens.

Nan said...

Oh, my gosh, those are extraordinary photographs. I couldn't believe the one with the "eye" was a butterfly. I thought it was a fungus on the tree. How big is the conservatory? And do all butterflies live only two weeks? It somehow saddens me.

Annie in Austin said...

Who knew that Indianapolis should be on my list for must-see garden tourist spots?
Thanks, Robin - you've taken some great butterfly photos. And the hatching rod method for the chrysales was quite fascinating!

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Robin said...

Thank you all for the nice comments.

Nan, the average life span is only about two weeks. Some live only 3-4 days and a few others can live as long as six months. It is sad isn't it? I thought they lived longer too.
The conservatory is a two story building and while it's not huge, it's a pretty good size.

Christa said...

How interesting. I didn't know butterflies had a life span of only about two weeks. Makes we want to appreciate each one even a bit more.

Is the blue one a Blue Morpho, perhaps? I think I saw some of those in Costa Rica.

Gorgeous photos. Thank you for sharing them.