Butterflies: more than meets the eye

7-22-15

One component of the internship program at Reiman Gardens is the Rotation Experience. This provides interns with the chance to briefly rotate into another area of the Gardens. We each have the opportunity to experience up to three rotations, with the goal of learning about the operation of the Gardens from a variety of perspectives.

I had the opportunity to complete my Entomology rotation last week, and found it fascinating. My favorite part of the experience was getting to help process a shipment of around 600 live butterflies and moths, sent to us a chrysalises and cocoons. While this may be a routine activity for an entomologist, I was intrigued by the various chrysalises, and how each one contained a butterfly that was almost ready to emerge. The fact that these insects undergo such a dramatic change throughout their development seems almost impossible. The processes of evolution have clearly done a lot to perfect this intricate life cycle.

If you’d like to see these fascinating creatures in person, come visit the Christina Reiman Butterfly Wing and the emergence cases just inside the entrance to the Gardens! And if you have any questions, make sure to ask the entomology staff – indulge your curiosity!

– Heather – Plant Collections & Records Intern