My friend had been telling me about the butterflies at the Botanical Gardens for some time now and we finally decided to go.

butterflies, insectarium, montreal

When you arrive at the Insectarium, you must first tour through the green houses. There are lots of fascinating plants and trees from Bonsai to cacti. We saw mango and banana trees, cardamon bushes, date plants, ferns, orchids, venus fly traps, the list goes on. Each room had it’s own environment from tropical rain forests to the dry desert.

At the end of the tour you must enter a room by separating thick black slats of hanging plastic.

white_morpho, butterfly

And the magic begins… The journey of the butterfly. 1000’s are flying about in their daily routine, undisturbed by the visitors.
It was a grey day and we learned that butterflies prefer to come out in sunlight and remain hidden on cloudy days.

The white butterfly above is called a White-Morpho. The butterfly below is called Rice Paper.

butterflies_go_free_2

The next butterfly we spotted was the African Monarch. Its bright colours warn predators to back off, I’m poisonous!

butterflies_go_free_4

This is the caterpillar version of the Monarch butterfly.

caterpillar, mornach_butterfly

Below is the chrysalis or cocoon of the Monarch butterfly.

cocoon_monarch_butterfly

Shortly after we spotted the Owl Butterfly. Its predators tend to miss it because it looks just like a vein on a banana leaf.

owl_butterfly

I was talking pictures and my friend was standing very still beside me when suddenly a butterfly landed on her finger.

johanne, tailed_jay, butterfly

It was a Tailed Jay – It uses a Y-shaped organ behind its head to emit a nasty odour that scares off enemies.

Johanne never moved a muscle.

Tailed_Jay, butterfly

Finally someone came to close and it flew off.

There were several moths species as well. This one is called the Cobra Moth and its wing span was at least 12″ in length tip to tip.
This moth can spray a repellent mist at predators.

cobra_moth

There were two different types of swallowtails. The one below is called a Lowi Swallowtail.

lowi_swallowtail

This one is a Thoas Swallowtail.

thoas_swallowtail

The journey of the butterfly starts out like most of us, as an egg.

caterpillar_egg

Once it hatches, it begins its journey as a caterpillar eating everything in its path to store up energy.
It can consume up to 27,000 times its weight in just a few weeks.

rumanzovia_swallowtail, caterpillar

It finally stops eating when it moults. Here it turns into a chrysalis or cocoon.

butterflies_go_free_16

There were pods set up close to where the caterpillars were where they could go to moult.

butterflies_go_free_27

Finally the butterfly emerges.

butterfly, insectarium, montreal

Throughout the room nestles in the bushes were eating stations for the butterflies. Slices of orange, grapefruit, bananas and kiwis lined the glass ledges which created the perfect spot to “flutter” in for lunch.

butterflies, fruit, eating

The Insectarium is the perfect spot to unwind, relax and get caught up in the moment with the butterflies.

They get set free April 27th, 2016 so only a few days left to visit with them.

butterflies, insectarium, montreal