We’ll release the butterflies on Labor Day!
Make sure you visit before we say “farewell” to the butterflies until next summer.
Have you visited the Shippee Family Eye Care Butterfly House yet this year? If not, you’re missing out on one of our most amazing exhibits. The Butterfly House now has dozen of native butterflies: Tiger Swallowtails, Eastern Black Swallowtails, Spice Bush Swallowtails, Mourning Cloaks, Commas, and Painted Ladies.
The Butterfly House has both nectar plants to feed the butterflies and the larval host plants for the caterpillars. Currently, there are eggs and caterpillars for both Painted Ladies and Spicebush Swallowtails. The Painted Lady caterpillars are on a variety of different plants, but they favor Hollyhock and Marshmallow. The Spicebush Swallowtails, as the name suggests, only feed on Spicebush (Lindera benzoin). And their caterpillars, well, they are just flat out amazing in their use of mimicry to avoid predation. When they first hatch and for their first three molts (instars), the caterpillars are mottled brown and white so that they look like bird droppings. With the fourth and fifth molts, they are either green or orange with giant eye spots. They mimic a snake’s head! If startled, the caterpillar will even curl its own head under while raising up the “snake head” to further the illusion of it being a snake. You have to see it to believe it, and they’re here now to see!
On your way to the Butterfly House, try the Monarch Migration game — will you make it to the end?