200 Years. 200 Stories. Story 170: “From Chrysalis to Butterfly ”

« Moving Pictures

Giving a Face to Climate Change »

Academy staffer preparing live butterfly pupae for the pupation chamber
Butterfly Coordinator William Herkewitz prepares recently arrived chrysalisesfor placement in the Academy’s Butterflies! exhibit.

From Chrysalis to Butterfly

In this photograph, Butterfly Coordinator William Herkewitz prepares a shipment of chrysalises for placement in the Academy’s Butterflies! exhibit. After carefully unpacking the chrysalises, inspecting them, and pinning them to the foam underside of a shelf, Herkewitz places them into a warm, humid chamber. In the Academy’s Butterflies! exhibit, you can watch as butterflies emerge from the chrysalises. You may see butterflies from Central America, South America, Africa, Asia, and Southeast Asia.

The chrysalises in this photograph traveled from a butterfly farm in Costa Rica. Unlike the many local farmers who must clear tropical forest habitats to plant their crops, Costa Rican butterfly farmers rely on native vegetation to support butterfly reproduction. Farmers gather butterfly eggs and care for them as they hatch into caterpillars. These caterpillars generally require about two weeks of feeding before they develop into chrysalises that can be placed into cardboard boxes for export.

Stop in any day to see butterflies flying, eating, and resting in the Academy’s Butterflies! exhibit, and peek through a window inside the exhibit to see chrysalises. If you’re lucky, you may even see butterflies emerging!

Plan your visit, check out our new exhibits, and find out about upcoming activities.
Discover the past and explore the future of the natural sciences in our online exhibits.
Make a difference, browse our programs, and get involved with the natural world.