It’s been another fantastic season at Butterflies & Blooms at the Chicago Botanic Garden. This is my second year working at Butterflies & Blooms, and I think it’s looking better than ever.
The biggest surprise this year happened this week.
We received some big, hairy atlas moth cocoons, and I was a little concerned about whether they would have time to emerge before we have to shut our doors for the season. When I came into the pupae chamber a few days after they arrived, there was a giant female Attacus atlas staring at me, as if to say, “Ha! I showed you!” I chuckled to myself. Our volunteers had also assumed we might not have any more moths this season, so they were equally surprised. I brought it out of the display, its strong feet clinging to my finger. I reached far up into a serviceberry tree and placed the moth where visitors could get an ideal view. Just a few minutes later, a handful of photographers stopped by, and they happily snapped away.
Volunteer Robyn Lynblad came up with the idea of naming each moth the way meteorologists name tropical storms, so we named this one “Aaliyah.”
To make that week even better, a new African moon moth (Argema mimosae) emerged. We are not sure if it’s male or female, so we decided to name it “Bobby.” Bobby and Aaliyah (the atlas moth) will definitely be hanging around for a couple of weeks, so come over and say hello.
Photo by Tony Hisgett from Birmingham, UK [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Photo by Tucson Botanical (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Butterflies & Blooms will be moving to its new home at the Regenstein Learning Campus in 2017. I can’t think of a more appropriate place for visitors to come to interact and learn about nature in some of its most beautiful forms. Being able to study and interact with nature has a profound effect on people of all ages, especially children. It awakens the childlike wonder that we all have. It certainly has for me.