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World of butterflies opens to Web

Published: October 16th, 2013

Category: Spotlights

Butterfly Rainforest

The Florida Museum of Natural History at the University of Florida celebrates its butterfly collection each year with a festival, but you don’t have to come to Gainesville to check out the world’s largest research center for the study of butterflies and moths.

The museum’s Butterfly Rainforest exhibit may now be viewed worldwide via three streaming content cameras available on the museum’s website. Visitors may view links to all camera feeds at http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/critter-cams/. The feeds include a view of the overall exhibit from the overhead canopy camera as well as up-close views of a fruit-feeding station and an inside angle showing adults emerging in the rearing lab on the chrysalis cam.

The exhibit is part of the museum’s McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity. The center also houses one of the world’s largest butterfly and moth collections at more than 10 million specimens.

People who can get to the museum Oct. 19-20 can enjoy the eighth annual ButterflyFest, a free event celebrating the importance of backyard wildlife and its role in the ecosystem. It starts with the largest butterfly plant sale of the year on Oct. 18 with more than 170 species available.

The theme this year, “Water and Wildlife,” is an effort to showcase the importance of this critical natural resource. Visitors will have the opportunity to view Lepidoptera specimens normally not displayed and speak with representatives from groups including the Florida Bluebird Society, Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, Lubee Bat Conservancy, and several museum and University of Florida divisions.

Additional family-friendly activities include live butterfly releases, a pollinator parade, live entertainment, movie screening with panel discussion and more.

ButterflyFest activities and presentations are free, but normal admission applies for the “Butterfly Rainforest” exhibit: $10.50 for adults ($9 Florida residents) and $6 for ages 3-17. Museum members receive free admission, and UF students also are admitted free with a valid Gator 1 card. The event also features food, activity and merchandise vendors. Visitors are encouraged to bring cash, as there is no ATM available on-site.

For more information on ButterflyFest, visit www.flmnh.ufl.edu/butterflyfest/.

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