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  6. Live butterflies star in the Canadian Museum of Nature’s newest exhibition, opening Dec. 16

Live butterflies star in the Canadian Museum of Nature’s newest exhibition, opening Dec. 16

A blue butterfly.

Butterflies in Flight

Special Exhibition

October 6, 2018 – April 22, 2019

Take a stroll among live butterflies!

Ottawa, December 14, 2017 – Escape from winter and wander among live, colourful butterflies in the tropical warmth of Butterflies in Flight, a new exhibition opening December 16 at the Canadian Museum of Nature.

“We’re excited to offer this show featuring many of the most beautiful butterflies in the world.  It is sure to be a hit with visitors”, says Meg Beckel, museum President and CEO. “Butterflies are popular insects especially because of their delicate beauty. With this show, our visitors have a chance to get up close to many species of tropical butterflies and learn about their importance as pollinators.”

The exhibition is divided into two parts: an introductory area with fascinating information about butterfly metamorphosis, pollination, anatomy, flight mechanics, and conservation; and the Solarium which houses the stars of the show—live butterflies fluttering everywhere. During the run of the show, which closes April 2, 2018, visitors may encounter dozens of species at any given time such as the impressive, large Blue Morpho.

The butterflies are supplied from two sustainable farms in Costa Rica, and transported to the Museum during their pupal stage. Through a window, visitors can view the pupae hanging in the Animal Care room and perhaps spot some butterflies starting to emerge. There will be a species identification guide, as well as pinned specimens for close-up examination. And the origami butterfly station will offer some hands-on, creative fun.   

Butterflies in Flight is presented by Essential® Costa Rica. “We are delighted to support this experience with live butterflies. This exhibition offers unparalleled beauty while allowing us to reflect on the importance of biodiversity and conservation, which has led Costa Rica to become a sustainable tourism champion,” says Roberto Dormond-Cantú, Ambassador of Costa Rica in Canada and representative for Essential Costa Rica. “Costa Rica devotes one-quarter of its territory to conservation through protected areas and National Parks, holding 5% of the world’s biodiversity, the largest in the world!  We are also thrilled to host a coffee bar, where visitors will have a chance to enjoy one of the best coffees in the world every Saturday!”

The coffee station is in the museum’s Activity Zone adjacent to the exhibition. Visitors can learn about coffee bean harvesting and the bean-to-cup process. On Saturdays, samples of Costa Rican coffee will be served with the aid of barista students from Algonquin College’s Hospitality & Tourism program.  

This Activity Zone—with attractive mountain and waterfall murals, a research tent, and plush animals and birds—will be a virtual tropical retreat for all ages. During holidays and weekends, families will enjoy hands-on activities where they can sift for insects in a large bin of leaf litter, identify them with the help of an interpreter and decorate a weevil.  

Entry into Butterflies in Flight is time-ticketed so visitors do not have to wait in a line-up. The special exhibition fee is $5 in addition to the cost of general museum admission. (On Thursdays from 5 pm to 8 pm, general admission is free).  Visitors are encouraged to wear bright colours to attract the butterflies. A small supply of colourful vests will be available in the Solarium for borrowing.

In conjunction with Butterflies in Flight, the museum is launching a new 3D movie, Amazon Adventure, which will be screened with a new 4K laser projector in the Theatre. This stunning production tells the story of 19th-century explorer and naturalist Henry Bates who spent 11 years studying wildlife in the Amazon where he discovered animal mimicry.  

Visit nature.ca to reserve tickets, or for information about hours, admission, and other activities. Look for the hashtag #ButterfliesattheMuseum on the Museum’s social media channels: Twitter (@museumofnature) and Instagram (museumofnature). Follow the Museum on facebook.com/Canadianmuseumofnature.

Interesting facts!

·         Butterflies and moths are classified in the insect order Lepidoptera, which means “scaled wings” in Latin.

·         Over 180 000 species of Lepidoptera are found everywhere on Earth, except Antarctica. Moth species outnumber butterfly species 10 to 1!

·         Ancestors of moths first appeared about 140 million years ago. Their butterfly cousins evolved later—the oldest butterfly fossil is about 55 million years old.

·         Butterflies are excellent pollinators. They flit from one flower to another, searching for nectar or places to lay their eggs.

·         Metamorphosis: After roughly four days in an egg, a caterpillar emerges and lives for around two weeks. This is followed by 10 days or so in a pupa or chrysalis. The adult butterfly will live anywhere between two and six weeks.

·         Adult butterflies retain responses developed at the caterpillar stage. If a caterpillar reacts to a certain smell, for example, the adult butterfly will share that response.

·         Costa Rica, which occupies only 0.03% of the Earth’s surface, is home to 10% of the world’s butterfly species!

·         Monarch butterflies of eastern North America make the longest migration of any insect in the world. It takes four generations of monarchs to complete the migration cycle.

·         According to a recent report in The Atlantic, Europe’s butterfly populations have reduced by half since 1990.   

About the Canadian Museum of Nature
The Canadian Museum of Nature is Canada's national museum of natural history and natural sciences. The museum provides evidence-based insights, inspiring experiences and meaningful engagement with nature's past, present and future. It achieves this through scientific research, a 14.6-million-specimen collection, education programs, signature and travelling exhibitions, and a dynamic web site, nature.ca.

About essential COSTA RICA
Essential COSTA RICA is the country brand developed to holistically promote worldwide exports, foreign investment and tourism hand-in-hand with the Costa Rican culture and lifestyle. It works not only by positioning the country’s assets, but also by fostering Costa Rica’s competitiveness, and committing the business sector through a detailed examination process that grades each company in five values appreciated globally: Excellence, Sustainability, Innovation, Social Progress and Costa Rican Origin.

Costa Rica is a concentrated country full of value, mainly due to its people. It exports diversity to the world, with its essence defined by the greatest riches of the earth: world-renowned natural beauty, delicious and colorful fruit, innovative ideas and genuine people.  With a population of 4.6 million inhabitants, Costa Rica produces and exports more than 4,500 products and services to more than 145 countries around the world.

Information for media:

Laura Sutin
Media Relations
Canadian Museum of Nature

Dan Smythe
Media Relations
Canadian Museum of Nature
613.566.4781; 613.698.9253 (cell)