Where do we get our butterflies?
The butterflies in Pacific Science Center's
Tropical Butterfly House are bred in captivity.
They come from butterfly farms in Central America and the Philippines.
How butterfly farms work
Butterfly farming begins with plant farming.
Caterpillars of each species will usually eat only one kind of plant, the host
plant for that species. Butterflies need their specific host plants in order to survive.
- Farmers release female butterflies in enclosed
areas with their host plants. The females fly freely and lay their eggs on the plants.
- Butterfly farmers collect the eggs and put them
in predator-proof containers.
- As the caterpillars hatch, the farmers place
them carefully on potted plants in cages. Hungry caterpillars need a lot of food!
Butterfly farmers feed the caterpillars cuttings from their host plants.
- When the caterpillars pupate -- form chrysalises --
the farmers collect them.
- The chrysalises are shipped to the farm's customers,
such as Pacific Science Center.
Why butterfly farms are a good thing
Butterfly farms can be very helpful for the people of developing countries.
Often these countries are rich in butterfly species but poor in cash.
Click here for the Butterfly Farmer Web site.
- Have minimal impact on the environment.
- Don't destroy tropical rain forests.
- Don't deplete wild butterfly populations.
- Don't require expensive, sophisticated technology.
- Provide rural employment and hard currency income.
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