“The butterfly effect” covers a lot of territory for me. For starts, we went the day after a snow storm that left us with a foot of fairly heavy snow to clear. Saturday however, was warm with bright blue sky and sun. And it was a tropical outing. One of the things I learned (or relearned? - not sure) was that butterflies need 80 degrees or higher temperatures. And so in the butterfly “arena” we walked around in summertime weather. Another aspect of delight was the children seeing the butterflies…even babies. One baby had been stripped down to his diaper due to the warmth – it was a day at the beach, with flowers rather than sand and grasses. Of course “the effect” included incredible beauty and color – not only in the butterflies, but in the blooming plants as well. Spring fever bit!
I had been there before, but the last time was about 10 years ago. They have since introduced Chinese painted quail. Actually, the birds were gifted and they took them to see if the butterflies and birds would coexist. The quail are flightless birds (hmmmm, now I’m wondering if I’m a dope and all quail are flightless…). The woman who was the information guru told us the birds live for several years. They also had some colorful zebra finches – which do fly, but also are not a problem for the butterflies.
As a photo-bug I of course was focused on picture taking. Snapping pictures of butterflies is not an easy task. For one thing they don’t sit still, and for another they rest (when they do) with their wings closed up so you are not seeing the beautiful colors top-side. I am including a few photos here.
After walking through the butterfly room we toured several display areas, including watching a film about the life cycle of butterflies. It began with the butterfly laying an egg – and not just anywhere; eggs are laid on the “host plant” – the one the larva will feed on. The larva or caterpillar eats, eats, and eats, and sheds or molts its outer layer 4 times, and then a final 5th time when it becomes a pupa – on that host plant. I turned to my friend while we watched this film with incredible videography, and said I had to believe there was some grand creator behind the natural world… I – we photographers– can barely capture one of these critters on film but someONE else managed to craft them!