Butterfly Rainforest - University of Florida (Gainesville)

December 02, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

If you drive along interstate 75, you're bound to see the billboards that advertise the "Butterfly Rain forest".  I've seen those signs for over a decade (at least it seems that long) and I've wanted to visit for as long as I knew about this rain forest.  I finally got the opportunity to go last month and it was a photographer's delight!  This exhibit is part of the Natural History Museum and is near the west side of the campus.  We must have spent a good 3 hours just hanging out with the butterflies and taking photographs.  Photographers - no tripods allowed - so be prepared to hand hold your camera and take minimal gear as they take great precautions to make sure none of the flying insects leave the rain forest.

One of the most common butterflies the day we visited was the 'tree nymph'.  This is a white butterfly with black markings - it almost looks like an albino monarch - but it's not.  When I first got there and we were in the rain forest, it's very hard to keep from being excited with all the prospects flying around - the photo opportunities are everywhere.  Here's one of the first photos I got of this type of butterfly. 

After getting a few, I now began to look for a less distracting background.

No bright white sky - but there is still a lot of bright colors in the background that most likely take your eye away from this beautiful flying insect. This butterfly likes the white begonia plants growing in the rain forest.

And my last photo of the tree nymph.

These butterflies are often in various exhibits here in the United States, but you should never see one in the wild.  They are not from our country, but instead their normal dispersal area extends over South East Asia (Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines and Taiwan) and the north of Australia.  The lifespan is this butterfly is normally between 19 days and 104 days.

The University of Florida has a published website that helps to identify the various butterflies you'll see when you visit.  The URL is https://www.floridamuseum.ufl.edu/exhibits/butterfly-rainforest/id-guide/




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