Save the Whales, Save the Gorillas, Save the Lions… What about “Save The Butterfly”?
That’s exactly what Timothy Wong, a California Academy of Sciences aquatic biologist, did with much of his free time.
The California pipevine swallowtail butterfly is a rare breed of butterfly, sporting incredibly delicate and iridescent blue wings. Wong noticed that these fluttery creatures began disappearing in the San Francisco area, due to habitat and food loss.
A video posted by Tim (@timtast1c) on
Wong took it upon himself to set up a fitting habitat for them. He built a greenhouse in his backyard, and transplanted many specimens of the California pipevine, the only flower that these rare butterflies would ever feed on.
When Wong painstakingly was sure the greenhouse had the perfect conditions to encourage butterfly growth, it was only then that he introduced 20 larvae of the species into their new home and begin the process of maturation — from larva to chrysalis to butterfly.
These lucky Pipevine swallowtail butterfly caterpillars are getting a preview of our California wildflower show in our backyard! While the caterpillars may look “scary” they are completely harmless. There would be no butterflies without caterpillars! These guys will be big blue beauties some day. #??? #pipevineswallowtail #pipevineswallowtailbutterfly #fearfactor #butterfly #caterpillar #larva #lepidoptera #raisingbutterflies #battusphilenor #battusphilenorhirsuta
A photo posted by Tim (@timtast1c) on
Three years into the project, and Wong’s butterfly home continues to thrive. Now many avid butterfly-watchers in California can thank him for being a major player in repopulating the state’s gardens with this rare and beautiful specie of butterfly.