Krohn Conservatory Presents “Butterflies of the Caribbean”

Written By: Ishton W. Morton

April 25th, 2016

Revised-November 17th, 2018

Butterflies – Many thinks that they are beautiful!! (Photo – Ishton W. Morton)

Being that I’m from the West Indies (Caribbean) and that Butterflies, Grasshoppers, crickets, dragonflies, and cockroaches are very common. I have never given much thought to these creatures. They were just there.

However, from some of my science classes I can remember butterfly and moth develop through a process that is called metamorphosis. The presupposition of metamorphosis came from is a Greek word which means transformation or change in shape.

Insects have two common types of metamorphosis. Grasshoppers, crickets, dragonflies, and cockroaches have incomplete metamorphosis. The young ones are called a nymph and usually look like small adults without the wings.

To the contrary butterflies, moths, beetles, flies and bees have complete metamorphosis. The young are very different from the adults and are called a larva instead of a nymph. Also, they usually eat different types of food.

There are four stages in the metamorphosis of butterflies and moths: egg, larva, pupa, and adult.

Eggs are laid on plants by the adult female butterfly. These plants will then become the food for the hatching caterpillars.

Yes! The summer brings lots of fun, sun, but unfortunately lots of annoying bugs. If you are a summer gardener then you’ve got the egg, larva, pupa, and adult butterfly Grasshoppers, crickets, dragonflies, and cockroaches that come with the season. And they will go through great lengths to get the rid of them.

As far-as-I-am concern this process has become extremely destructive to my summer garden. Thusly, I have developed an uncaring dislikeness for them. I will utilize all necessary means to protect my garden. Actually butterflies are flying worms!

Consequently, eggs can be laid from spring, summer or fall. This depends on the species of butterfly. Females lay a lot of eggs at once so that at least some of them survive.

The Tomato-Plant Pest

The next stage is the larva. Also, this is called a caterpillar if the insect is a butterfly or a moth. Sometime they are very popular on the tomato plant. In particular this caterpillar will devastate your tomato garden over-night. OH YES THEY CAN!!!!

Although these eggs turning into larva and then caterpillars can devastate a garden just a few days; we were taught there are certain benefits to be gained from the adult butterfly. They help with the pollination process of certain fruits. Many thinks that they are beautiful!!

Some butterflies flies develops extremely more rapidly than those of the Great Southern White; the Tropical White is an extraordinarily swift butterfly, “so swift that, in a few seconds, they traverse long distances. Also, not only do they fly extremely fast, but they take their nourishment from flowers in the greatest haste. Only in imbibing water from the damp ground, where these butterflies, particularly the males, sometimes settle in large groups close together, do they allow themselves time, and engage in this activity for the moment as an amusement”

Accordingly the job of the caterpillar is to eat and eat and eat. As the caterpillar grows it splits its skin and sheds it about 4 or 5 times. Food eaten at this time is stored and used later as an adult.

Caterpillars can grow 100 times their size during this stage. For example, a monarch butterfly egg is the size of a pinhead and the caterpillar that hatches from this tiny egg isn’t much bigger. But it will grow up to 2 inches long in several weeks.

When the caterpillar is full grown and stops eating, it becomes a pupa. The pupa of butterflies is also called a chrysalis.

Nevertheless, the caterpillar’s job was to eat. The adult’s job is to mate and lay eggs. Some species of adult butterflies get energy by feeding on nectar from flowers but many species don’t feed at all.

Depending on the species, the pupa may suspend under a branch, hidden in leaves or buried underground. The pupa of many moths is protected inside a cocoon of silk.

This stage can last from a few weeks, a month or even longer. Some species have a pupal stage that lasts for two years.

It may look like nothing is going on but big changes are happening inside. Special cells that were present in the larva are now growing rapidly. They will become the legs, wings, eyes and other parts of the adult butterfly. Many of the original larva cells will provide energy for these growing adult cells.

As I meander my way through the Krohn Conservatory West Indian (Caribbean) exhibits photographing butterflies and spectators alike I though missing from the show was information demonstrating the different stages of the adult butterfly.

Obviously, the adult stage is what most people think of when they are thinking of butterflies. They look very different from the larva. The caterpillar has a few tiny eyes, stubby legs and very short antennae. The adults have long legs, long antennae, and compound eyes. They can also fly by using their large and colorful wings. The one thing they can’t do is grow.

The dissimulated information said; “Dozens of countries and scores of cultures, all with one thing in common – a beautiful blue sea… Krohn Conservatory invites you to “dive in” to the 2016 Butterfly Show, “Butterflies of the West Indies (Caribbean”). Whimsical ocean creatures and colorful butterflies float together in the showroom for a seaside adventure.”

Also, the white sand, “coral” reef, and towering palm trees will lend a beach-side feel, while the coral and yellow hues of hundreds of flowers reflect the colors of a spectacular West Indian (Caribbean) sunset.

According to Krohn Conservatory West Indian (Caribbean) butterfly exhibits, thousand of islands populate the Caribbean Sea. Of these Butterflies the have highlighted eleven island nations, the Bermuda Triangle and their diverse cultures, unique geography and spectacular flora. Amazingly, I really wanted to know the names island in the Bermuda Triangle. This was completely new to me. I thought I was well informed on the islands in the West Indies.

St. Maarten – Monarch Butterfly

However, some of the name of the islands & butterflies that were represented in the Krohn Conservatory West Indian (Caribbean) butterfly exhibits are as follows: Honduras – Blue Morpho, The Bahamas – Julia, St. Croix US VI – Zebra Longwing, Puerto Rico – Tiger-Mimic Queen, Aruba – White Peacock, Trinidad – Tiger Leafwing, Jamaica – Malachite, Dominican Republic – Brand-celled Sister, Barbados – Orange-barred Sulphur, Haiti – Silver King Shoemaker, The Bermuda Triangle – Common Buckeye and St. Maarten – Monarch. I am still waiting to learn where in the West Indies in the island that is called the Bermuda Triangle.

Flying comes in handy. The adult female can easily fly from place to place to find the right plant for its eggs. This is important because caterpillars can’t travel far.

Most adult butterflies live only one or two weeks, but some species hibernate during the winter and may live several months.

Many exciting events have been planned throughout the 12-week show to allow visitors to discover even more about the vibrant, engaging, and gracious West Indian (Caribbean) culture.

Rain Forest Under Glass (photo-Ishton W. Morton)

In addition to the butterfly display, we invite everyone to enjoy the beauty of our rain-forest under glass. The mist system in the palm house will provide a unique cloud forest experience and new this year is an interactive butterfly landing pad. It’s your passport to finding the other treasures that await you throughout Krohn Conservatory!

Krohn showcases an amazing variety of more than 3,500 plant species from around the world, including desert plants, tropicals, bonsai trees, rare orchids, carnivorous plants, and exotic fruit trees.

According to history, Krohn Conservatory, located at 1501 Eden Park Drive in Eden Park. It was built in 1933 at the height of the Art Deco era. It’s what’s inside those aluminum and glass walls that make Krohn Conservatory truly special.

For one to experienced a rain-forest one will have to travel a quite a distance from Cincinnati in order to visit a rain-forest or a desert. Krohn Conservatory will truly satisfy this requirement.  The Krohn Conservatory, Cincinnati Parks’ is nationally recognizing for showcase of more than 3,500 plant species from around the world.

Krohn changes throughout the year with special exhibits and programs, including the ever-popular “Butterfly Show,” where thousands of butterflies are free to fly throughout the show room in a specially-themed garden.

You can always visit the famous rain-forest waterfall and exotic plants on permanent display in the Palm, Tropical, Desert and Orchid houses as well.


Author: Ishton W. Morton

Formerly, Ishton W. Morton is an educator and promoter for community advocacy which includes creating programs and services, developing partnerships, and changing public policies, laws, and practices to improve the lifestyle of all people I’m still having an overwhelming desire to provide an Outreach Continuing Education process through this media.