The big flutter
They are fluttering again in the Munich Botanical Garden: the tropical butterflies. | © Photos: Thorsten Naeser

The big flutter

Tropical butterflies in the Munich Botanical Garden

12. January 2024 | by Thorsten Naeser

Fancy a touch of the exotic? Then you should pay a visit to the Munich Botanical Garden until March 17. Because they are fluttering again in the aquatic plant house (House 4 of the show greenhouses): the tropical butterflies. 

For many Munich residents, the special exhibition "Tropical Butterflies" is a traditional winter experience that they have unfortunately had to do without in recent years due to the coronavirus pandemic. Now it's finally back!

Hundreds of butterflies of over 50 different species from the tropics of America and Southeast Asia flutter around freely in the light-flooded greenhouse.

A beautiful specimen of a South American banana butterfly (Caligo eurilochus).

These include, for example, the giant South American banana butterfly (Caligo eurilochus) with its distinctive eyespot on the underside.

The butterflies are flown in as pupae from special butterfly farms in Costa Rica and Malaysia. They hatch a few days after arriving in the hot and humid greenhouse. If you are patient, you can watch them hatch. They are replenished every two weeks, as most moths don't get much older. It is a short, turbulent life that only serves the purpose of mating and preserving the species.

The butterflies are flown in as pupae from special butterfly farms in Costa Rica and Malaysia. A few days after they arrive in the hot and humid greenhouse, they hatch.

Incidentally, many of the moths get their colorful splendor from nanostructures on their wings. These structures are as tiny as light waves are long. The nanostructures selectively reflect certain wavelengths of light, resulting in the splendid colors on the wings of the animals.

Some of the filigree animals are not afraid of humans. Brave creatures even sit on the hands or heads of visitors. If you fancy photographing the colorful butterflies, you will also get your money's worth. The butterflies remain motionless at specially set up feeding areas - long enough to capture them on camera in fantastic pictures.

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