Discovery Zone

Some of the worlds largest, spikiest, hairiest and most camouflaged caterpillars are on show with cocoons, giant silkmoths and shining pupae hanging on the plants. Lots to see, but look hard or you'll miss them!

Life Cycle

In the Discovery Zone you can see all the stages of the butterfly’s life cycle, including the egg, the caterpillar, the chrysalis and the adult butterfly.

Egg. The first stage is the female butterfly laying beautifully shaped eggs. She lays them on exactly the right leaves for the caterpillars to eat.

Caterpillar. There are all sizes and colours of caterpillars to see, some small, some large, some camouflaged and some a variety of colours. It is worth taking your time and looking closely to find them.

 

Chrysalis. The chrysalis is another fascinating stage in the life cycle. Inside the chrysalis the miracle of metamorphosis takes place, the caterpillar turning into the beautiful butterfly we see flying around.

 

Emerging Case

As you leave the Discovery Zone you will see the Emerging Case. This is where the chrysalis or pupae, that we import from the tropical butterfly farmers, is hung. We do this by gluing each individual pupa onto sticks, which are then carefully placed in rows within the Emerging Case. This is one of the most important aspects of the farm as it is here that the butterflies emerge from their pupae and prepare their wings for the first flight.

Citrus Swallowtail Caterpillar

At the beginning of its caterpillar life this squidgy swallowtail caterpillar looks a lot like bird poo. A very clever trick of nature to keep the predators away!

 

Owl Butterfly Caterpillar

This lovely, fat, brown caterpillar is a pest in banana plantations in South America. Just a few of these caterpillars can eat all the leaves of a banana plant in a few weeks! From a distance the caterpillar looks like it has a row of spikes down the middle of its back, but on closer inspection they are actually soft hairs.