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Birth of the blue morphos

When our first batch of blue morpho butterflies began to emerge from their chrysalises in 2015, we were there to catch the process on film.

Each individual butterfly takes only one or two minutes to emerge, a few minutes to unfurl, and around two hours for its wings to dry before it is ready to flutter off. Watch a two-hour hatching session condensed to just under a minute in this time-lapse video.

The chrysalis hatchery is one of the many captivating parts of the Sensational Butterflies exhibition. It is where the incredible Lepidoptera life cycle comes alive as butterflies and moths emerge from their chrysalises before visitors' eyes.

This species is the popular blue morpho butterfly, Morpho peleides, which has a distinctive eye pattern on its outer wing and an iridescent blue-purple colour on its inner wing.