Butterflies in their Natural Habitat
Every day throughout the year you can wander amongst our live, free flying tropical butterflies. They live in a natural tropical environment created especially for their well-being. Our butterflies come from tropical countries like Costa Rica, Belize, Surinam, Thailand and the Philippines.
We have re-created their natural environment so the temperature in the house hovers around 26 degrees, together with humidity of around 80%. The glass structure of the building offers maximum natural light, important for all the plants and butterflies in the house.
Exotic Plant Paradise
The plants are chosen with the needs of the butterflies in mind. Some are nectar plants providing food for the butterflies and some are caterpillar food plants upon which butterflies will lay their eggs and which the caterpillars will eat.
The flowering plants produce nectar, the most important food stuff for the butterflies. Among these are hibiscus, lantana, heliotrope and plumbago. You will also find colourful arrangements of artificial flowers in the flight area. These serve as feeding stations and are regularly sprayed with a honey solution. Some butterflies also enjoy fruit juices and therefore there is always fruit on offer in the house.
Each butterfly species has its own special host plant. The female will usually only lay her eggs on one specific host plant and the caterpillar will generally refuse any other food. The Owl butterfly generally lays her eggs on banana leaves, the Heliconius species on passion flower leaves and the Monarch only on milkweed. All the plants in the Butterfly House have to be free of pesticides and are propagated by the Österreichischen Bundesgärten, the Federal Gardens of Austria.
The Origins of our Butterflies
All of our butterflies are produced by us, or for us, at recognized butterfly farms in various tropical countries. None of the butterflies are taken from the wild and there are no endangered species in the exhibition. We do not sell the butterflies we produce to collectors, only to other live exhibitions.
Some butterflies multiply within our exhibition, for instance the Owl butterfly. In line with our policy, only to show bred butterflies, we hope to create an interest in the preservation of butterflies and their habitats worldwide.
In the picture to the left you can see some different pupae. The large cocoons are produced by the Atlas moth and only moths produce cocoons. The green pupae are Graphium Agamemnon and the golden pupae Idea leuconoe. If you would like to find out more about butterflies and their metamorphosis, please come and visit the Schmetterlinghaus, the Imperial Butterfly House.