Friday, August 7, 2009

My Visit To Shady Oaks Butterfly Farm


Today I was able to go up to Gainesville with my family. I enjoyed touring Miss Edith’s Butterfly Farm. I learned so much and had a great time!


First, we got to see where the butterflies' are bred and lay eggs. This is a White Peacock butterfly. They lay eggs on Water Hyssop, Green Shrimp, and Frog fruit.


This is a Buckeye butterfly. It posed perfectly for the picture. Their caterpillars eat many different weedy plants.


Shady Oaks raise thousands of caterpillars! They keep them in containers and place fresh food in daily.


We were able to take a look inside some of the containers. They have the most Monarch caterpillars I’ve ever seen. They also raise different species. These black caterpillars are White Peacocks. The picture of the White Peacock butterfly is at the top of this blog post.


Next we saw Zebra Longwing caterpillars. They eat Passion Flower vines.


These are Gulf Fritillary caterpillars. They eat Passion Flower vines too.


We also saw Julia Heliconian caterpillars. Can you guess what host plant they eat? Its Passion Flower! Passion Flower is a great plant to have because it is eaten by four different caterpillar species. The fourth is the Variegated Fritillary.


These are Great Southern White caterpillars. What funny creatures, they look like they have eyes on their backs!

sulphur with arrow 

There are many different Sulphur butterflies native to Florida. Sulphur butterflies are yellow, but their caterpillars are green to blend in with Cassia plants.

sulphur chrysalis with arrow IMG_1142

Sulphur chrysalises are very hard to find. They look like leaves.


After seeing many different caterpillars I got to see butterfly chrysalises. This is a Julia Heliconian butterfly’s chrysalis. I think they look like an animal with antlers! Miss Edith showed us that Julia chrysalises will wiggle when touched. These were my favorite chrysalises.


The green chrysalis is a White Peacock butterflies chrysalis, and the yellow is a Sulphur butterfly’s chrysalis.


This is a Painted Lady’s chrysalis. It really looks like gold!


Next I got to look at the disease OE through a microscope. It was so amazing to see a Monarch butterfly’s tiny scale close up.


Our last stop was Miss Edith’s screened in butterfly garden. IMG_1161

Inside the garden I got to see a Zebra Swallowtail for the first time! They are so pretty. They lay eggs on Paw Paw plants.

Giant swallowtail with arrow

Inside I also saw a Giant Swallowtail. This name suits them very well. (I put an arrow pointing to the butterfly). They lay eggs on Wild Lime, Rue, and often orange trees earning them the name, “Orange Dogs”.

Thank you, Miss Edith for giving me a tour of your beautiful butterfly farm. Next time I come I want to do an internship! To see Shady Oaks Butterfly Farm’s website please click on the following link.

In my next blog post I will put pictures of the tropical butterflies I saw at The University of Florida’s Butterfly Rainforest.


  1. I started my own butterfly habitat. I started with Buckeyes and they are now emerging. Seem to only eat Cosmos/hard to find this time of year....but the Gatorade spunges are working just fine.
    It's a lot of work but fun!