Florida Museum keeps butterflies from bugging out in cold weather

Florida Museum keeps butterflies from bugging out in cold weather
Florida Museum keeps butterflies from bugging out in cold weather(WCJB)
Published: Jan. 28, 2022 at 10:02 PM EST
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - It will be so cold over the weekend that butterflies may want to get back in their cocoons.

The Florida Museum of Natural History had to close their butterfly exhibit early on Friday and it will be closed all day Saturday.

“Nature’s such an important part of life,” Exhibit Director Darcie MacMahon said.

As you’re preparing for temperatures as low as 23 degrees over the weekend, so are insects and butterflies.

“Butterflies are really adaptive to warm weather,” MacMahon explained.

When expecting freezing temperatures employees at the rainforest use tarps so plants, birds and butterflies have a blanket.

“It’s very challenging to deal with these freezes,” MacMahon said. “Physically covering the rainforest is a very difficult job. It takes a lot of people and a lot of time.”

They also heat the pathways and streams.

“They can’t be active or fly unless their wings are warm enough,” MacMahon added.

As they naturally gravitate to vegetation when it’s cold, The butterflies will actually hang low below the tarps to protect themselves from the cold weather.

“With the heating elements in the exhibit that’s going to keep heat in underneath tarps low to the ground,” Professor of Entomology Jaret Daniels said. “They’re going to be in the areas that are warmest within the entire exhibit.”

However, Daniels said insects outdoors may not make it.

“Anything below 32 degrees is going to be lethal to some organisms,” Daniels said. “So, It’s just a natural part of the environment, a natural part of life. So we home owners shouldn’t be too worried because they will rebound.”

Butterflies in this rainforest should be safe and sound.

“It’s a happy place, a beautiful place.”

It’s also a place that will open again on Sunday at 1 p.m.

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