By Ta’Leah Van Sistine, Marketing & Communications Intern
The start of our second summer with Butterflies & Blooms is just around the corner! On any given day, there will be 500 or more butterflies soaring around the butterfly house — some of them will be native favorites like the Tiger Swallowtail and the Monarch, while others will hail from Florida, Texas and Mexico.
Here are just four of the non-native (to Wisconsin) butterflies that might catch your eye this summer:
What begins as a scary looking white caterpillar with black spikes eventually turns into a butterfly that looks just like its name! These black and white-striped creatures can be seen year-round in the southern U.S. and Central America, and they are the state butterfly of Florida. The saliva of Zebra Longwings is special because it dissolves pollen so that they can absorb extra nutrients, which allows them to survive for several months.
These butterflies have a blaring red abdomen bottom, and as caterpillars, they have a vibrant and dangerous flare to them as well; the caterpillars acquire toxins from the cycad plants they eat, which makes them poisonous to predators. Atalas can be seen year-round in Florida, Cuba and the Bahamas, so we are excited to welcome this tropical creature to Green Bay this summer.
These green and black-spotted butterflies are spotted year-round in the mango, citrus and avocado orchards of Florida and the subtropical forests of Central America and northern South America. They find nutrients in strange places, such as rotting fruit and bird droppings! “Malachite” is a mineral that’s the same shade of green as the spots on this butterfly, where this winged wonder gets it name.
This butterfly will have four eyes looking at you! Each of its four wings have an “eye spot,” which makes the wing appear like a peacock feather, and that’s how this creature got its name. They can typically be be typically found year-round in the southern U.S. and Central America in moist, open areas, such as the edges of ponds and streams or in weedy fields and parks.
We hope to see you at Butterflies & Blooms this summer! Admiring these creatures up close is the best way to appreciate the essential role that these pollinators play in our ecosystem.
You can also find out more about native pollinators below: