Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Butterfly Conservatory at the American Museum of Natural History through May 29

The Butterfly Conservatory at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Photo by Lia Chang

The Butterfly Conservatory at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Photo by Lia Chang

The wildly popular Butterfly Conservatory at the American Museum of Natural History, now in its 18th year, is the perfect antidote to the frigid temperatures that we are having. The Butterfly Conservatory is open through  Monday, May 29, 2016. American Museum of Natural History is located at Central Park West at 79th Street in New York.

An Owl Butterfly at The Butterfly Conservatory at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Photo by Lia Chang

An Owl Butterfly at The Butterfly Conservatory at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Photo by Lia Chang

The Butterfly Conservatory houses up to 500 iridescent butterflies that hover above visitors in a 1,200-square-foot vivarium filled with lush foliage and blooming tropical flowers.

The Butterfly Conservatory at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Photo by Lia Chang

The Butterfly Conservatory at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Photo by Lia Chang

The conservatory’s butterflies come from farms in Florida, Costa Rica, Kenya, Thailand, Malaysia, Ecuador, and Australia.Featured species include iridescent blue morpho butterflies, striking scarlet swallowtails, large owl butterflies, and beautiful green birdwings.

The Butterfly Conservatory at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Photo by Lia Chang

The Butterfly Conservatory at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Photo by Lia Chang

Because the average life span of many butterflies is only two to three weeks, roughly 500 butterfly pupae will be shipped to the Museum weekly for the duration of the exhibit, and the butterflies will be released into the vivarium after emerging. Other pupae hang in a case in the vivarium, giving visitors a firsthand look as adult butterflies emerge from chrysalises and fly away only hours after adjusting to their new surroundings. Video screens outside the vivarium will also display a short film about this process.

The Butterfly Conservatory at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Photo by Lia Chang

The Butterfly Conservatory at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Photo by Lia Chang

Colorful educational displays outside the vivarium explain the life cycle of butterflies, the worldwide efforts to protect their diverse habitats, and the variety of butterfly species in New York State. Visitors can learn about interesting adaptations, from the colored scales that form butterfly wings’ intricate designs to the intriguing relationships between butterflies and other animal species—monarchs, for example, are toxic to birds.). Other panels explain how scientists rely on wild butterflies to gauge the health of an ecosystem and how the Museum’s butterfly specimens offer a wealth of information to butterfly and moth researchers around the world.

Click here for more information on The Butterfly Conservatory.

The American Museum of Natural History is open daily from 10 am-5:45 pm, except on Thanksgiving and Christmas. For more information on the museum, call 212-769-5100 or check out the website at www.amnh.org.

Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang is an award-winning filmmaker, a Best Actress nominee, a photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Examiner.comJade Magazine and Playbill.com.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2015 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any tradema

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