Prettier dead stuff

The American Museum of Natural History was also featuring a temporary tropical butterfly conservatory that I really was interested in seeing. I was hoping for a small dose of warmth and flowers and butterflies.

Outside the vivarium were a few collections of mounted specimens; also dead, but much prettier than those I told you about the other day. Something about seeing those bunnies pinned up that way really creeped me out. The butterflies didn’t bother me though. I have no idea what any of the ones in this first pic are; the orange-ish one on the right looks like some variety of anglewing, but who knows? I don’t remember these being labeled, even.

These look much more familiar – and of course, they’re labeled! The vivarium was kinda neat – smallish, but with lots of free-flying butterflies and moths. The space is kept at 80 degrees or so and at least 100% humidity, so with my sweater and wool coat I was fairly uncomfortable after 2 minutes or so. I would have liked to see a nicer variety of flowers, there were only pentas that I remember, plus lots of greenery. The butterflies have feeding stations similar to hummingbird feeders, plus there’s fresh fruit available to those species which prefer their food au natural.


The light was harsh for photographs and it seemed like the prettiest butterflies never stayed still for a photo, but this guy finally settled in. I think he’s called a Cairn’s Birdwing and is from Australia – the topside of his wings is the most striking shade of neon green – I found a pic here to give you an idea, since it was impossible for me to get a pic while he was fluttering about.

I have no clue what this one is? Lovely eyespots, though. There were quite a few similar to this, with larger or more eyespots; wish I could remember what they’re called.

I’ve heard that the buterfly garden and conservatory at the Bronx Zoo is really great – anyone been there? This was a nice antidote to the cold of the first few days of spring, but left me wanting more.

15 thoughts on “Prettier dead stuff”

  1. Butterflies are my thing. I’ve spent many a day chasing them with my camera. I’m really not fast enough any more, but a few years ago I managed to “capture” quite a few at Leaming’s Run or at the Hereford Lighthouse gardens. Have albums full of the pictures. Flying flowers make me happy.

  2. Those butterflies are beautiful. When I was a kid, my big brother needed to do a butterfly collection for a science project, so he paid my little sister and I a dime per butterfly. We must’ve got at least 20 different butterflies (in South Texas, that’s probably not hard).

  3. I visited that about 6 years ago when they first did it. It’s really cool. Agree on Owl Butterfly – similar to the Blue Morpho. Did they have the giant Atlas Moths?

    A few years ago they had a similar exhibit for frogs I think. I missed it.

  4. Much nicer than the other dead things.
    Why is that, do you think? It’s all dead, but the butterflies aren’t as creepy. Hmmm.

    Our conservatory does a b-fly show every year, and it’s more frustrating than uplifting. All these bratty children (not MINE) scaring off the beautiful morpho just as I am about to get an award-winning photo.

  5. Always reminds me of the Farside cartoon where the one butterfly guy is pinned up on the wall and the other butterfly guy is telling the cop .. “Well, let’s just say he was – uh – “collected””

  6. So pretty and I’ve learned a new word: vivarium.

    We sure need antidotes to this lagging winter. I’ve got my outside bird microphone on so that I can hear the newly arrived Robins. Sweet :0)

  7. Wonderful Natural History Museum posts- both of them are fascinating. I’ve been to the one at the Bronx Zoo and it is very very nice indeed. There’s one on Key West that is quite amazing, too. They’re like stepping into a fairy tale garden. I have mixed feelings about taxidermy- I dislike the notion but I’m pretty interested in how really good some of it is and the notion that it lets me see critters up close that I wouldn’t otherwise get a glimpse of.

    Freckles is a fine Easter bunny. 🙂

  8. Jayne: Right, but some of us have longer to wait for the real thing than others! (Yes, I’m jealous of Georgia’s early start to spring!)

    Bobbie: I haven’t made it to the gardens at Hereford Lighthouse… yet! I’ve read it’s a great spot tho. The CMBO gardens in Goshen have a broader variety of butterflies than Leamings Run – check it out!

    Delia: Did you actually stick little pins in them? Ick.

    Pam: Hi! Thanks for the pic! I didn’t get to see that blue flash at all – those ones were always feeding or resting.

    Patrick: Yes! Didn’t get a nice pic tho, but that moth was huge!

    Mary: 🙂

    Susan: Yeah.. I was frustrated too with all the people and the terrible light.

    Rabbit’s Guy: Great joke!

    Cathy: A microphone is a great idea – bring spring indoors!

    Carolyn: Hi! Everyone says it’s an Owl – I think wood nymphs are much smaller.

    Vicki: I’ll have to get up the courage to visit the Bronx someday.


    RuthieJ: Thanks!

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