Butterflies go free at Montreal Botanical Garden

The Botanical Garden has kicked off its Butterflies Go Free event — every day newly hatched butterflies will be released into the greenhouse. Check out our sneak preview.

Up to 2,000 newly-hatched butterflies will flutter around the greenhouse from Feb. 14 until April 24

Release the butterflies!

6 years ago
Duration 1:25
Science interpreter Lydia Benhama has all the details on butterflies and their journey to the Montreal Botanical Garden's greenhouse. 1:25

It's a tropical scene — butterflies dance around lush foliage in 29 C heat as a waterfall rushes in the background — and its all located in Montreal, at the Botanical Garden's greenhouse.

The Space for Life has kicked off its Butterflies Go Free event, which runs from Feb. 14 until April 24. Every day between 100 and 200 newly hatched butterflies will be released into the greenhouse.

CBC reporter Jaela Bernstien went for a sneak preview and spoke with resident science interpreter Lydia Benhama to get the lowdown on butterflies and their colourful (albeit short) life cycles.

Q: How long does a butterfly live? 

A: A butterfly will usually live for about a month in the best conditions. If we take the whole life cycle from the egg to the adult butterfly, it's approximately two months. That is why the first mission at the adult stage is to really find a mate.

Q: Where do the Botanical Garden's butterflies come from?

There are 75 different species of butterflies and moths at the Botanical Garden's greenhouse. They come from breeding farms around the world. (CBC)

A: There are about 1,500 to 2,000 butterflies inside the greenhouse and we have approximately 75 species of different butterflies that come from different breeding farms located around the world. We have some from Costa Rica, other ones from Tanzania, the Philippines, even from the United States. These butterflies all come in the stage of a chrysalis by plane. 

Q:  What are the most unique butterflies at the greenhouse? 

The Blue Morpho is known for its spectacular bright blue colour. (CBC)

A: They are all absolutely amazing and beautiful, but there are some stars of the show like the Blue Morpho, which is spectacular with its blue colours. You have some others like the Cobra Moth. It's considered the biggest moth in the world. 

The Cobra Moth is the biggest in the world. (CBC)


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