Tropical butterflies in Kazakhstan
Dec 14. Kazpravda. Almaty
By Marina Mikhailova
The exhibition in Almaty of live tropical butterflies was a real sight to see.
Thanks to it you can find yourself in a tropical corner in the midst of winter, being thousands of miles away from the tropics. The Baluan Sholak Sports Palace hosts this paradise, with hundreds of exotic to our eye butterflies fluttering around, that were brought from the Philippines, Burma, Malaysia, North and Latin America, Africa, Madagascar. Special humidifier, heater and lighting create conditions close to natural for the butterflies.
These tropical guests are much bigger in size than our butterflies: the length of their wings is from 8 to 15 and even 26 cm. No less impressive than their size is the brilliant coloring with bizarre patterns that give them a look of beautiful fresh flowers. By the way, it was believed in Rome that butterflies are flower petals, which came to life and began to flutter. Romantic, isn’t it? And when after the winter cold you find yourself in this hot and humid pavilion, you are dazzled by these fireworks of live flowers!
These lovely creatures eat a honey dissolved in water with sugar and orange juice. This food is put for them into plastic bottle lids.
To the visitors’ delight they sit on their hands, although they may not be touched, being delicate and fragile.
The exhibition includes about 60 species of tropical butterflies. Many of them are listed as endangered, and some are no longer found in the wild, only on special farms. Each of them is unique.
You can see here a butterfly, which in China is called rice paper. It is so poisonous that insects will not eat it. But this butterfly is a symbol of family and fidelity, because during the 15 days of her life, it keeps to one mate only.
The butterflies are brought in kells, cocoons, so the visitors can watch their birth. The exhibition is organized by a group of enthusiasts from Krasnodar, who buy the cocoons in the U.S., the UK and the Philippines, placed them with utmost care into a special insectarium, a kind of a “maternity home”, where dozens of cocoons are tied with strings, and every 10 minutes, out of different-color cocoons emerge amazingly beautiful butterflies to make the first flutter of wings. They live 4-8 days. The more they fly, the shorter their life. When a butterfly’s life ends, it is placed under glass for viewing, to please the eye.