Costa Rica Largest Butterfly Garden
Butterfly Garden Costa Rica:
The butterfly garden is comprised by an impressive 1,150-square-meter structure, which makes this one of the largest butterfly gardens in the country. Our butterfly garden boasts the country’s largest variety of species, with an average of 35-40 different species of butterflies, depending on the season. In this area, visitors can observe these creatures and learn about their entire life cycle. These fascinating beings posses an interesting trait, and that is that they pass through a complete four-stage metamorphosis, including the egg, larva, pupa (or chrysalis) and adult. Just by visiting the Butterfly Garden and observing the wide array of colors fluttering about in magical flight is fascinating. This, together with the possibility of learning about these spectacular creatures makes this place a must-see while visiting the park.
The butterfly garden also boasts a special irrigation system that consists of a series of foggers, which transform regular water into a mist. This technique ensures that large drops of water won’t harm the delicate crystals that cover the butterflies’ wings. TURU BA-RIs butterfly garden is located in a privileged spot in comparison with other butterfly gardens. The area’s climate and temperature are perfect for all stages of the insect’s development. A few of the most relevant pieces of information that visitors will learn about while visiting our garden are life cycle, predators, feeding, defense mechanisms, management, reproduction, and more.
The Life Cycle of the Butterflies:
The female butterfly deposits its eggs on the host plant. The egg is the first cycle of life and is also the most vulnerable period, largely due to their major predator, the parasitic wasp.
From the egg is born a caterpillar which eats only vegetable matter, digests, and grows over a period of 10-60 days. Through this time they shed their skin (molt) four to six times.
Pupa or Chrysalis:
When fully grown, the caterpillar hangs itself from a branch or leaf of a host plant and undergoes its final molt. The least amount of information is known about this stage. When fully developed, the chrysalis changes color and splits within one to two days into the adult.
Adult Butterfly or Imago:
Butterflies are insects that have four wings, two compound eyes of various parts and six legs. The butterfly uses its antenna to touch and smell; they drink nectar from flowers with their mouth in the form of a tube, called a proboscis. When they are not eating, this tube is rolled into a spiral. Most butterflies live approximately 3 weeks and they move their wings at a velocity between 460 and 630 beats per minute.
In nature, on average only 5% of butterfly eggs reach adulthood and the remaining 95% are lost to predation or other natural causes. In our butterfly program, we are able to provide a safer environment and over 55% of the eggs are able to reach adulthood. In this way, we can maintain a stable population of butterflies in our observatory
The Blue Morpho
Morpho butterfly species are among the most well known of neotropical butterflies and with good reason. Most species have incredible, iridescent, shining blue wings that resemble wrapping paper or satin. The Common Blue Morpho is the most common representative of these showy butterflies in Costa Rica and is one that you will probably see if you keep your eye out for them no matter what sort of activity you choose to do.
Morpho peleidesThe identification of the Common Blue Morpho is pretty straightforward; look for a large butterfly with flashing blue upper wings bordered in black. Like other blue morpho species, when it flys, it appears as if the blue is flashing on and off because the underwings are mottled gray and white. When these butterflies rest, they hold their wings up, thus concealing the bright blue coloration, and only showing the camouflaged underwing. Several eye spots, known as ocelli, are visible although they aren’t as huge and prominent as those shown by the Owl Butterflies.
Behavior in Costa Rica
Morphos flap along on large shining wings through the lower parts of forested habitats in search of rotting fruit. Like many butterflies in the tropics, instead of mostly feeding on flower nectar, Morphos suck up the sugary juices of overripe fruit. This behavior can be seen in butterfly houses where old bananas are placed on feeders to the delight of morphos and other butterflies. For good photo opportunities in your hotel garden, you could probably attract morphos and other butterflies by placing an open, ripe banana in a quiet, shady spot.
Habitat and distribution in Costa Rica
The Common Blue Morpho occurs in forest and second growth habitats throughout Costa Rica from the lowlands up into the cloud forest zone. They even occur in coffee and banana plantations (and are considered a pest in the latter). Morpho species in general are especially common along rivers and streams.
An on-site laboratory is a breeding ground for the countless fluttering species. It offers an interesting perspective into the stages of development of the most colorful species in Costa Rica. With over 4,000 of the flighty creatures in the observatory at any one time, guests will be delighted by a possible butterfly kiss, or two.