Butterfly Gardens - Raising and exporting butterflies
01.01.2009 - 01.01.2009
View Costa Rica 08 - 09 on WebWeaver's travel map.
This is an amazing facility located in the small city Guacima, just west of Alajuela in the central lowlands of Costa Rica. While not huge it does have an impressive array of very colourful butterflies which are raised for export to schools and research facilities across the world.
The screened in compound has a host of brilliant fluttering wings landing on your shoulder or just hanging out on a banana leaf posing for your camera.
There are at any time up to 150 Costa Rican families raising rare butterflies to the pupae stage when they are returned to the farm for inspection and packing. You are able to follow close up the process and the stages of development which make this insect (6 legs) one of the easiest and most colourful species to learn about in this diverse country.
I noted the tour guides reference to the fact that during the mating process the male monarch attaches himself for 8 hours to the female and hangs limply from her as she struggles to avoid predators and fly about the compound as if nothing was happening....where have I heard that before?
After an explanation on the exportation of butterflies, the tour proceeds to The Butterfly Garden. In an enclosed tropical garden where perhaps over a thousand butterflies live their lives, feeding, mating and laying eggs. Guides may identify the most beautiful of Costa Rica's butterflies, point out the females ovipositing their eggs on host plants and feeding on flowers. Visitors may touch the legs of butterflies and discover how they hold on to plants or try to find the lottery number on their wings. Topics such as the role of butterflies in nature, their defense mechanisms and those of their host plants are but a sampling of the many themes discussed.
The Morpho butterfly which can be identified only when his wings are opened (as this one on the ground which I believe to be in the throes of death) has almost phosporescent blue patches. It evolves from this stinking grub which will attack if threatened.
Victorina Stelenes - Green
Victorina Stelenes - Blue
Blue Morpho on the hustle
Our Butterfly stories continue. Stay tuned for more news from these mini-winged wonders.