Tropical Butterflies: MENDELU Botanical Garden’s Indian Summer Festival To Exhibit 1,300 Chrysalises

The butterfly exhibition will run from Friday 16 September to Sunday 2 October. Photo Credit: MENDEL

Brno, Sept. 16 (BD) – After four years, visitors to the Mendel University Botanical Garden and Arboretum can once again witness the hatching of tropical butterflies. The event, which is part of the Indian Summer exhibition, will start on Friday, 16 September, so that the public can visit the garden at a time when some autumn plants are in bloom. 

As usual, the butterflies will come from Stratford, with around 40 species of butterflies rotating in the greenhouses during the event. “In total, almost 1,300 chrysalises have been ordered. The composition has not changed much, with the presence of proven perennials such as Caligo, Graphium, Idea leuconoe, Kalimainachus, Morpho and Papilio,” said Michal Pavlík, director of the Botanical Garden.

The first butterfly exhibition in the Botanical Garden was held together with an orchid exhibition at the end of winter 1999. “We decided to present butterflies to the public after visiting the butterfly house in Erfurt, where a friend of ours was the director at the time, and gladly explained the basics of butterfly breeding to us,” Pavlík recalled.

The arrival of the butterflies is preceded by several days of preparation. The staff at the arboretum are putting in place technology to ensure a suitable climate, arranging appropriate flowers, preparing food and setting up nets in the greenhouse to prevent the butterflies from flying away or catching cold on wet glass. The butterflies are divided into two groups: one feeds on plant pollen, the other on rotting fruit. “Butterflies of the genus Caligo, for example, are annoying pests of banana plantations, and are about as much loved there as our gardener loves the white fly,” Pavlik explained.

After arriving in polystyrene boxes, the pupae are glued to the substrate with instant glue. “First they are glued into a piece of foam and then onto a stick. Each van has its own colour of foam to differentiate between old pupae that may never hatch again,” said Pavlik. Before hatching, the chrysalis is coloured, but the actual hatching is entirely in the hands of the individual, who has to climb and pump the haemolymph into the wings fairly quickly. Then it is left to rest for a while to allow the wings to harden. To hatch, the butterflies need a higher temperature and humidity, which is provided by underfloor heating and misting nozzles. Most butterflies emerge in the morning.

Visitors can view the butterflies from Friday 16 September to Sunday 2 October during opening hours from 9am to 6pm. In addition to the exhibition, orchids, carnivorous plants and succulents can also be purchased on site. As is tradition, refreshments will be provided by the Brno Tea Room.

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