Spring arrives on the wings of Sensational Butterflies

03 April 2014

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Sensational Butterflies, our hothouse filled with flying beauties, opens today as spring events get underway in the Wildlife Garden.

Come face-to-face with striking species of butterflies and moths from across the world as Sensational Butterflies returns for its sixth year on our East Lawn.

Visitors can peer into the hatchery and watch butterflies and moths emerging from their chrysalises and cocoons, ready to join those already taking flight among the tropical plants, making a feast of fruit, or, as many like to do, landing on our guests!

Beauty and diversity

With more than 170,000 species of butterflies and moths (collectively known as Lepidoptera) described worldwide, there’s sure to be a species to take everyone’s fancy.

‘Many people believe that moths are the ugly sisters of butterflies and fly only at night,’ said Alessandro Giusti, our Curator of Lepidoptera, ‘In fact, many moths are beautifully coloured and patterned and fly during the day.’

Watch the audio slideshow at the top of the page to hear more about why Giusti loves Lepidoptera and see some of the fascinating species that can be found in our hothouse, from the striking blue morpho to the elegant Malagasy comet moth.

Step into spring this Saturday

With the warmer weather, now is the perfect time to explore nature around you. Sensational Butterflies includes an outdoor butterfly garden with tips on how to attract butterflies and create your own butterfly garden at home.

After the disastrously wet summer of 2012, the worst on record for butterflies, the UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme reports this week that last summer saw a real boost for the butterfly population, with 46 of the 56 species monitored seeing numbers increase. 

A good spring and summer this year will further help to increase numbers, which have been on the decrease since 1976.

The Wildlife Garden, which winds its way along the West Lawn, also opened its wooden gates this week. This Saturday 5 April it hosts a special spring event, where guests can:

  • decorate a pot and take home a butterfly-friendly plant
  • build an insect hotel
  • identify seeds and fruits using a microscope
  • have a go at butterfly and amphibian inspired crafts
  • make an apple birdfeeder with help from the RSPB
  • browse stalls selling wildflowers and refreshments
  • meet Museum experts, who will be on hand in the Angela Marmont Centre for UK Biodiversity to identify any mysterious plants, creatures or fossils.

All activities are free, and there will also be free Terrific Tadpoles talks in the Attenborough Studio.

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Sensational Butterflies sticker book

Sensational Butterflies sticker book

Discover the wonderful lives of butterflies with this colourful sticker book, fully checked and approved by a Museum butterfly curator.

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