Sunday, 3 August 2008

Going Troppo

At the Butterfly House; or Tropical Rainforest display; at our local museum (Otago Museum) here in Dunedin, it is possible to see beautiful exotic imports such as these.

Apparently it would take too many plants to breed the caterpillars on site, so a continuous supply of chrysallises are imported from the Philippines.

There are about 1000 butterflies and moths of various species (about fifty species altogether.)

The difference between moths and butterflies?
Here is an explanation I got from this site - Although butterflies and moths are very similar, they have many differences. Most butterflies fly during the day, and most moths fly during the night. The best way to identify a butterfly from a moth is to look at its antenna. A butterfly's antenna have knobs at the ends of their feelers, and the ends of the moth's antenna is either feather like or plain. Most butterflies rest with their wings held up above their bodies and most moths rest with their wings spread out flat. Typically butterflies have brightly colored wings and moths have dull colored wings. Most butterflies have slender, hairless bodies, while most moths have a fat abdomen and furry bodies. Butterflies form a chrysalis during the pupa stage of their lives. In moths, the chrysalis is normally contained inside a cocoon. Most moths have tiny hook or bristle hooking the forewings and hind wings together. Butterflies do not have this hook. Moths have existed about 100 million years longer than butterflies.

I notice that they weren't all peace and love either - you should have seen the silent fighting going on at the eating stations! Big bully butterflies landing in right on top of the littler ones, for example.

And also ... a red-eared turtle.

We enjoyed our little visit to the tropics. It was very warm (there are shelves outside where before you enter, you can stash jackets and other warm, woolly outer garments) and the waterfall was very loud.
As well there were quails and a gecko or two, some tarantulas and zebra finches.
On such a cold, damp day, it provided a welcome, warm distraction and handy escape from the winter rain.


rel said...

What a glorius tropical interlude to give surcease to winter's chill.
Nothing is ever as platonic as we'd like to believe.

Anonymous said...

What I wouldn't give for some winter rain!! As opposed to summer rain which doesn't make it any cooler, just a whole lot wetter!
Anyway, I saw a moth the size of a man's hand (I may be exaggerating a little) the other day. I choose not to get too close! And there are some pretty butterflies fluttering around most days. I definitely prefer the latter!

Anonymous said...

Do you know the film Angels and Insects, based on AS Byatt's novella Morpho Eugenia? It has some wonderful shots of, and discussions about, butterflies and moths (along with a shocking main plot; the insects are part of a subplot about the impact of the Origin of Species on the Victorian intelligentsia).

Anyway, the film came to mind as I read your post.

Clare Dudman said...

That's so interesting about moths and butterflies (and harvestbird's information on the film!). The picture of a turtle made me smile. We call them terrapins here and we used to have one as a pet. He was vicious and very bad tempered and would try and give you a pretty hard peck if your hand came close. It was a very good thing he had no teeth.

dinzie said...

great pictures :O) I never knew dunedin had such a place ...welly hasnt ...


Joyce Ellen Davis said...

Wow! What a surprise for those caterpillars: to go to sleep in Cebu and wake up in New Zealand! (In the middle of winter!).

Becky Willis Motew said...


Isn't it interesting how nature tarts up the male of the species rather than the female? We humans get it wrong somehow and think that's a fem thing.

I love going to a museum, especially on a foul day. Great pix. My computer swallowed them just fine.

kj said...

chief, you must be braver than i am. up the road abit is a butterfly sanctuary with species from the world over. fantastic, except i got the jitters everytime a butterfly landed on me, which was frequent. i didn't know i was such a scardy cat until then...


Kay Cooke said...

rel - Lovely wordage!

fearfuly made - Yep butterflies do it for me too.

harvestbird - Yay! Two things - a book and a film - to look up. Thanks for that!

clare - I have a fondness for turtles/terrapins. (Does the word 'terrapin' mean 'earth legs'?) :)

dinzie - Does Hong Kong??!!!

joyce - Yeah I was wondering what they made of their new home - a little artificial? But maybe if it is all they know they are content - now I know thaere is a poem there!

becky -Yay you got through - thanks for insightful comments!

kj - Some tried to land on R because he was wearing red I think ... but otherwise left us alone. A little fluttery is all.

dinzie said...

The same butterflies fly free over here :O) We climbed to the Buddha on Lantau island yesterday ...some beautiful butterflies about the place .....

Lots of stories to tell ... McD already making notes :O)

mareymercy said...

Wow - great pics!

Carmen said...

lovely butterflies! Wow, you redisigned your blog (where I have been?)

Mama Llama said...

Your photos are so delightful. I left my camera in Vegas...must have captured what happened there, because it sure did stay there.


I have a little something for you over at my place. With much love.

Be well, Kay.

kj said...

chief, just so you understand, i had 6 or more butterflies on my person at one time. yikes!

Kay Cooke said...

dinzie - Looking forward to hearing the stories and looking at the piccies.

twitches - Ta muchly.

camille - Hope you like it!

mama llama - I don't know what I'd do without my camera now. Thanks to my sister, she knew I could do with one and gave me her's when her partner bought her a bigger one. I'm very grateful. She'd kill me if I lost it!

kj - Oooh, not sure I'd be too thrilled about all those sticky feet on me either!

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

I just love these photos, what beauty!!!

Um... but, I have to ask. Are you *sure* that those are his little turtle ears? How do we know that?
They don't look like ears. I like him, he's very nice looking, but I'm a bit skeptical that those are really turtle ears.

Scarlett & Viaggiatore

Kay Cooke said...

scarlett - That is the name for the species of turtle - herre is a link

paris parfait said...

What fantastic photos of beautiful specimens!

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