Half-term flutter at The Living Rainforest
Visitors to The Living Rainforest, which is funded by the ReDiscover venture, will find themselves surrounded by newly-hatched tropical butterflies this half-term.
The rainforest-inspired visitor centre near Newbury, Berkshire, has received its first consignment of butterfly chrysalides this season from a butterfly conservation project in Costa Rica.
“Some of these pupae look just like little jewels,” said Toby Marsden, special projects officer in charge of the butterfly project at The Living Rainforest. “A few of them even look like they’re made of gold and silver. Many of them have hatched already, and the adult butterflies are enjoying their freedom in the warm atmosphere inside our glasshouses.”
Not all of the insect inhabitants at the centre have travelled thousands of miles from the tropics – some butterflies have been breeding at The Living Rainforest over the winter.
“Although most of the breeding happens over the summer, this is the first year that some caterpillars have continued growing throughout the winter. Visitors might see some brightly-coloured blue morpho caterpillars munching on the Magic Bean plant, and they won’t miss the adult butterfly – a huge, metallic blue butterfly that has been hatching on the plant over the last few weeks,” said Marsden.
The centre is open from 10am to 5.15pm every day, and visitors will find brighter weather in the middle of the day the best time to spot the tropical butterflies.
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