27 Jun 2016

Plas Pilipala: The first butterflies arrive…

Laura Jones

Our first delivery of butterfly chrysalises have arrived and are all set up in their emergence cage. We were on tenterhooks waiting for the delivery last Wednesday and once it arrived it was all hands on deck to glue and assemble the butterfly pupae for the first time, with Carl giving us hands-on training in the correct techniques.

Now that all of the chrysalises are hanging in the emergence cage, we’re waiting for each of them to become butterflies. Each butterfly will push itself out of the chrysalis skin using its legs. After it drops out, the butterfly pushes the fluid in its body through the veins of its soft wings, pumping them up to full size. It then takes a couple of hours for the wings to harden off and strengthen. At this point they can be moved out from the emergence cage and into the house itself.

Everyone’s still working hard putting in the finishing touches to make Plas Pilipala as beautiful as the butterflies. We’ve got all of our information boards to go in, giving interesting facts about the butterfly species we have, and more and more nectar plants are being put in by the horticulture team.

A total of 230 chrysalises were in this delivery and this week it’s a double order, ready for when Plas Pilipala fully opens on the 1st of July.

Even when they first arrived, they were already wriggling…

And by the next morning, some were ready to emerge: