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The butterfly season finishes strong with a kaleidoscope of colors.

Tropical Butterflies Glide into the Botanic Garden

Blue morpho at the Butterfly Pavilion. Photo courtesy of SanchezC on Flickr.

September 6, 2012

Dazzling tropical butterflies descend into the Butterfly Pavilion at the ABQ BioPark Botanic Garden. Favorite butterflies, like zebra longwings and green malachites, are joined by stunning tropical blue morphos, postman and owl butterflies. Enjoy the wonders of butterflies daily from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. until early October, when the weather becomes too cold for these delicate insects.

More than twenty new species of tropical butterflies and moths are on display in the Butterfly Pavilion this year. Blue morphos (Morpho menelaus) are the largest with an impressive wing span of up to eight inches. Perched with closed wings, blue morphos appear dull brown with camouflage eyespots; in flight, their dazzling blue coloring flashes through the Pavilion, bringing gasps from visitors.

"The butterflies are still very active in this warm weather, and photographers have been capturing great shots," said Dr. Ralph Charlton, Curator of Invertebrates. "The loveliness of butterflies gives visitors a chance to connect to insects in a unique way. It's easy to overlook the beauty or importance of a caterpillar, but everyone can appreciate butterflies."

Search carefully through vines and tropical plants to find the exquisite red- and yellow-striped postman (Heliconius melpomene) and cryptic owl butterflies (Caligo memnon). Ask butterfly experts to help point out these tropical beauties.

The Butterfly Pavilion is open daily now through October 12, weather permitting, and is included with regular admission. In addition to tropical butterflies, visitors can view the wonders of metamorphosis in the chrysalis hatching window. Also get a sneak peak of the grasshoppers, spiders and other arthropods, which will be featured in the upcoming Creeping, Crawling and Carnivorous Show.

For more information, email [email protected] or dial 311 locally (505-768-2000).

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