Butterflies of the world

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

A A A

As the Easter holidays arrive, the Natural History Museum invites visitors on an expedition across four continents with a new family exhibition featuring hundreds of butterflies from across the world.

Butterfly Explorers features a butterfly house which shows the wildly varied environments butterflies live in throughout North America, Africa and Asia as well as the heart of the Amazon rainforest in South America, where there are more butterfly species than anywhere else on Earth.

Visitors can travel through the exhibition, moving from continent to continent, spotting and identifying butterflies, collecting passport stamps and learning how butterflies live in many different parts of the world. It also features a hatchery room, which gives a close-up look at the butterfly life cycle from pupa to butterfly, a rare opportunity to see tropical butterflies emerging from their chrysalises.

The garden is devoted to some of the 58 butterfly species that live in the UK, with tips for attracting these butterflies to visitors’ own gardens. While following the success of the Museum’s butterfly exhibitions in 2008 and 2009, Butterfly Explorers features a wider geographical spread of butterflies than has ever before been seen at the Museum. Among the butterfly species are the common mormon (Papilio polytes), blue morpho (Morpho peleides) and monarch (Danaus plexippus).

Some species of butterfly reflect the state of our environment’s health and must adapt to their changing habitats. The exhibition also features many examples of the wonders and peculiarities of butterfly behaviour, such as:

-charaxes butterflies fly so fast and are so powerful that it is possible to hear them crashing into each other during mid-air duels

-glasswings drink poisonous sap from heliotrope leaves, which they store in their bodies to make themselves taste unpleasant to potential predators

-monarch butterflies are long-distance travellers, flying across America to Mexico every autumn

-the woolly bear caterpillar lives in the Arctic and spends most of the year frozen solid at temperatures of -50?C or below

With growing concern over the future of butterflies, the exhibition highlights issues facing different species. In North America, butterflies feast on the wild flowers of prairie grasslands, but this biodiverse habitat has been largely destroyed by farms growing a single crop. Similarly, Asia is home to many of the most spectacular butterfly species, but deforestation to support the growing human population is threatening its wildlife. But conservation programmes can achieve remarkable results. In the UK, the large blue has been brought back from extinction and we now have the largest population in Europe.

The exhibition runs from 8 April to 26 September 2010 and tickets can be booked at www.nhm.ac.uk.

Arts and Entertainment
filmPoldark production team claims innocence of viewers' ab frenzy
Life and Style
Google marks the 81st anniversary of the Loch Ness Monster's most famous photograph
techIt's the 81st anniversary of THAT iconic photograph
News
Katie Hopkins makes a living out of courting controversy
people
News
General Election
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Office Administrator

£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Office Administrator is requ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - Commercial Vehicles - OTE £40,000

£12000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to expansion and growth of ...

Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer - Sheffield - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer position with a...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Leader - Plasma Processing

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An Operations Leader is required to join a lea...

Day In a Page

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders