It’s the start of National Insect Week and there’s plenty to celebrate over in Butterfly Paradise.
A butterfly boom has occurred, filling our Butterfly Paradise exhibit with fluttering beauties like the postman butterfly and the Greta oto – also known as the glasswinged butterfly.
Visitors will be able to recognise the postman butterfly by its black wings and flecks of yellow, white and red. Each postman has a unique colour variation with those colours representing more than just a flare for fashion. The postman butterfly is a toxic butterfly, meaning those who try to chomp them will get a nasty stomach ache. The bright colours help the butterflies tell predators to stay away, like nature’s own warning signs.
Another interesting fact about the postman is their lifespan. The postman butterfly is one of the longest living butterflies and can survive over 3 months on their diet of pollen (most butterflies have a lifespan of only a few weeks!).
Fluttering next to their South American brethren, you might spot the glasswinged butterfly, which lives up to the name with their translucent wings. In Spanish they are referred to as ‘espejitos’, meaning ‘little mirrors’.
Lucky visitors may get the chance to see male glasswinged butterflies displaying their famous wings to attract a mate. The males display in a group with the hope of attracting a group of females over, this process is known as lek mating.
To learn more about butterflies, or any other of our creepy crawlies, make sure you visit ZSL London Zoo this week. We’ll be hosting a number of talks on spiders and other incredible invertebrates, and even be displaying the incredible artwork of Sheila Tilmouth, who has created beautiful images to illustrate the conservation project to save the UK-native fen raft spider.