Butterfly "Zoo" Photos

I have visited a couple of "butterfly zoos" in the past year or so, and thought you all would like to see some of the photos I took.

First, we see how the butterflies come to the zoos. They are shipped from butterfly farms as live chrysalids (the "cocoon"), and they hatch when they get to the zoo.

Here is Papilio palinurus daedalus, a species I sometimes use. They look so different in a natural setting!
Below left, one of my favorite photos, a photo of my husband in front of some Atlas Moths (Attacus atlas), the largest moth OR butterfly in the world! Look at the size of them! I have used these before as well. Note the Atlas Moth cocoons hanging above and between the two moths. They are so large that the "empties" are used by locals in Indonesia as coin purses!

Below, to the right, a lovely photo of a Morpho (unknown species). You can see kind of how the butterfly zoo is set up in this picture; it's basically a greenhouse with lots of butterflies just flying free!

Below, Graphium agamemnon. One of my favorite species to use!
Below, Papilio rumanzovia (female). Another of my commonly
used butterflies.

Here, you see a caterpillar! I can't say what kind of caterpillar; probably some kind of moth, judging from how hairy it is!
More photos of chrysalids and newly emerged butterflies! I think it's so cool how they have hundreds of beautiful live chrysalids all in rows like this! What a fun place to work at!

Below, a pair of Ornithoptera priamus poseidon Birdwing
Butterflies. The male is on the right, dancing for female.

Here is a close-up of the female Birdwing. Notice how tattered her wings are. Most butterflies get surprisingly tattered and worn just from flying around.
A close relative of our Monarch, this is Idea leucone, one of my favorites.

Celebrity Purchase!

Andrew Zimmern, host of "Bizaare Foods" on the Travel Channel, has purchased a few of my framed pieces to give as gifts! What a fun TV show; have any of you ever seen the fascinating and exotic things he eats?? Since my degree is in Anthropology, I find it especially interesting. Since he has eaten so many insects, my pieces were a great fit for Mr. Zimmern!

He gave me a kind mention in his blog; here's what he had to say:

Now that's my kind of art! Recently, I stumbled upon the work of Katie Jennings (VanBlaricum), a Lawrence, Kans. artist and entomology enthusiast. Katie makes pieces using real insects from around the world. I purchased a few pieces from her site, insectartonline.com, as gifts recently, and they are even more gorgeous in person.

Here's how she operates: The insects arrive dried out and all folded up. She re-hydrates the critters to make them flexible again, and then spread thems out on a styrofoam board with sewing pins and little strips of paper. She doesn't put any pins through the bodies, leaving them natural-looking and lifelike. Lastly, Katy picks a cool and artsy background for the shadowbox frame and glue the insects onto that. The whole process takes several days, and each end result is unique, and nothing like those stale displays from your high school bio class.

Extreme Wings

If you haven't seen Damien Hirst's artwork made out of butterfly wings, you can catch up here! Installed in the Gagosian Gallery in LA in 2007, this collection of "paintings" is truly awesome. Hirst has used hundreds of thousands of real butterfly wings to piece together his version of stained-glass windows.

Besides the more benign butterfly wing art, Hirst is also known for his controversial work involving larger dead animals. Perhaps you have heard of his most famous piece, the real dead shark encased in a huge acrylic cube? He uses dead animals to make statements about life and death. His work has sold for millions of dollars, making him the richest living artist.

Perhaps the butterfly wing pieces could be viewed in this way: The butterflies have finished living, but even in a state of death, they continue to "live on", amazing us.

I encourage you to do a Google image search on his work if you have a strong stomach and you want to see something truly unique. In the mean time, enjoy these photos of the butterfly wing pieces.