- Created on Thursday, 28 February 2013 20:01
- Written by Imperial Valley News
Escondido, California - The first shipment of butterfly pupae (also known as chrysalides) arrived at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park today. These delicate pupae will be cared for by animal care staff until ready to emerge as butterflies.
The shipment arrived from Costa Rica this week carrying 500 pupae of various butterfly species. Butterfly farming is a sustainable use of rain forest in Costa Rica, and the importation of these butterflies from countries like Costa Rica promotes conservation of this habitat.
Over the next few weeks, the butterflies will emerge from their chrysalides and be let out into the Hidden Jungle aviary at the Safari Park, where Butterfly Jungle takes place.
Animal care staff will make sure each pupae is sorted and counted before carefully pinning its silk attachment into a special area in the butterfly facility. The chrysalides will stay in that position until the butterflies are ready to emerge, at which point they will be let out into an aviary filled with tropical plants and trees.
"When a butterfly is ready to emerge it will become a darker color and also they'll be moving a lot more,' butterfly keeper Sara Schmitt said. "You can actually see them moving inside (the chrysalis), so you know that they're about to come out," Schmitt said.
Butterfly Jungle is an event that takes place at the Safari Park March 16 through April 7. Guests are completely immersed by thousands of butterflies as they walk through the Hidden Jungle aviary. The 30 species of butterflies highlighted this year hail from Africa, Asia and Central and South America and include the zebra longwing, orange-barred tiger and Grecian shoemaker. Old favorites such as the monarch, giant swallowtail and blue morpho also will be charming guests.
The San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy is dedicated to bringing endangered species back from the brink of extinction. The Conservancy makes possible the wildlife conservation efforts (representing both plants and animals) of the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, and international field programs in more than 35 countries. The important conservation and science work of these entities is supported in part by The Foundation of the Zoological Society of San Diego.