More than 6,000 tropical butterflies from Africa, Asia, South and Central America will fly freely in the Lena Meijer Tropical Conservatory throughout the exhibition. It will be open to the public March 1 through April 30.
The exhibition features more than 40 colorful species — including the bright-orange Julia longwing, the common morpho with blue iridescent wings, and the emerald swallowtail.
“Color is more than just beauty for these fascinating creatures,” said Steve LaWarre, director of horticulture at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. “Intricate patterns and vibrant colors are a means of camouflage and are used to warn, confuse and elude predators.”
More than 800 chrysalides arrive at Meijer Gardens weekly. Visitors can watch as delicate chrysalides and cocoons are placed in the newly remodeled Butterfly Bungalow, where adult butterflies emerge and spread their wings for the first time.
The Caterpillar Room, which debuted last year, features Monarch caterpillars. Even in the early stages of metamorphosis, color and pattern are survival tactics. The Monarch caterpillars’ vivid yellow, black and white stripes warn predators that they are poisonous.