7. Inside the Butterfly Enclosure

While inside the butterfly enclosure, you should be able to see the life cycle of butterflies. Make sure to look for their eggs, caterpillars, and chrysalises; as well as, the adult butterflies. 


The activity level inside the Karen Wertheimer butterfly enclosure depends upon the time of the year and weather conditions. Since butterflies are endothermic animals, they require the warmth of the sunlight to be active. It is unlikely that you will see active butterflies on cloudy, cold, or rainy days.


While inside, be sure to look up and check the roof since many butterflies gather there in the direct sunlight. As you walk through the inside of the enclosure, take your time to observe the butterflies and their behavior. Often, you may see one species of butterfly flying around a particular type of plant. These could be female butterflies in the process of laying their eggs.


A female butterfly will smell the host-plant with her antennae. Once she has located the right plant, she will land and scratch the surface of the leaves with her feet. By doing this, she is tasting the plant to confirm that it the right place to lay her eggs. Once the butterfly has made a positive identification of the plant, she will then bend her abdomen and lay an egg. She will repeat this process numerous times, until she finishes laying all of her eggs. While some butterflies lay a dozen eggs, others, like the monarch will lay many hundreds. Most species will lay between 100 and 200 eggs.