The Fascinating World of Butterflies Takes Wing at Montréal Space for Life

Butterflies Go Free 2013

MONTREAL, Feb. 13, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - Montréal Space for Life invites you to explore some exquisite dimensions of biodiversity during Butterflies Go Free, and plunge into the universe of butterflies from around the world. From February 14 to April 28, 2013, the Botanical Garden's Main Exhibition Greenhouse will be transformed into a huge butterfly house, welcoming thousands of brilliantly coloured butterflies and moths. The stars this year are some extraordinary butterflies that Quebeckers know and love: monarchs. Visitors can learn some of their secrets, including how they need our help to survive! You can also relax in the inspiring Monarch Lounge, with its seats shaped like eggs, caterpillars and chrysalises, created by internationally renowned Quebec designer Liz Vandal.

S.O.S. monarchs!
Very light (weighing in at half a gram) and very large (among the biggest of all Quebec butterflies), monarchs are enigmatic members of order Lepidoptera that never fail to amaze us with their beauty and their incredible migratory voyage. It's no surprise that the Montréal Insectarium chose them as its emblem and, through its Monarchs Without Borders program, participates every year in Monarch Watch, an international research, education and conservation program! Yet monarch populations are shrinking. Since the 1990s, their numbers have been in constant decline, mainly because their habitats are being destroyed. Every year, monarchs from Eastern North America undertake a 4,000-km migration, headed toward alpine forests in Mexico, at altitudes of 2,700 metres, where they overwinter in a state called diapause. In the spring they mate and begin their long journey back north. They keep pace with the flowering of milkweed, a plant essential to their survival. It actually takes two or three generations before they make it back to Quebec, in June. Now the survival of monarch populations in eastern North America is threatened in part by industrial and residential development all along their migratory corridors, and by the use of pesticides that destroy their sources of nectar and the milkweed plants they need. No milkweed means no eggs, no caterpillars and hence no butterflies!

The solution: butterfly gardens!
If you would like to do your part to help the monarchs, come to Butterflies Go Free and learn how to make your own butterfly garden from the Insectarium's nature interpreters. Starting in the spring, you'll need a sunny, quiet outdoor area - even a tiny balcony will do! - out of the wind, preferably facing south. You'll plant milkweed, of course, along with lots of native annuals and perennials, which monarchs will be happy to pollinate. Since these butterflies devote most of their energy to feeding and reproducing, they will flock to your garden to lay their eggs on your milkweed - eggs that will turn into caterpillars. And you may even be lucky enough to see those caterpillars metamorphose into butterflies! Creating a butterfly garden is a concrete way of helping monarchs survive and protecting our biodiversity. It's also a great way to fashion your own beautiful oasis. Are you up to the challenge?

Butterflies Go Free in figures

  • 1,705,359 visitors since 1998
  • Over 20,000 butterflies released throughout the event
  • Over 2,000 butterflies present at the same time
  • About 75 species of butterflies
  • From Canada, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Kenya, Malaysia, the Philippines, Tanzania and the United States
  • Temperature of over 24°C in the greenhouses

For further information and to purchase tickets online (new!),
visit our new website,

Montréal Space for Life, the first space in the world dedicated to humankind and nature, brings together the Montréal Biodôme, Botanical Garden, Insectarium and Planetarium. Together they are committed to safeguarding and showcasing biodiversity and invite people from Canada and around the world to join in this bold, creative urban movement.

SOURCE: Espace pour la vie

For further information:

Karine Jalbert, Communications Co-ordinator
Telephone: 514 872-1453/ 514 250-3230

François Ouellet, Communication Assistant
Telephone: 514 872-3232/ 514 917-7251

Twitter #butterfliesgofree @espacepourlavie


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