12 Days of ZooLights: Butterfly

12 Days of ZooLights

Jessie Cohen/Smithsonian's National Zoo

Haven't made it to the National Zoo this holiday season? Catch up on what you're missing with our 12 Days of Zoo Lights. From Nov. 23 to Jan. 1, the zoo is illuminated with a sparking light display featuring sculptures of many of the zoo’s most popular animals. We're sharing one with you each day.

Today's animal: Butterfly

Habitat: Butterflies are found in a variety of environments, but the majority of species reside in tropical areas.

In the wild: Wild butterflies have the ability to blend into bark and plants to hide from predators. They have also developed toxic chemicals in their bodies to ward off hunters.

At the zoo: The zoo has several species of butterfly in the pollinarium.

Zoo history: Many of the zoo's resident butterflies are Orange Julias and Zebra Longwings. Zebra longwings are named after their black and white stipes while, orange julias are named after their orange wings. Keppers at the invertebrates exhibit tag monarch butterflies each year when they migrate to Mexico for the winter.

Bet you didn’t know... Butterflies can only fly if their body temperatures are 86 degrees or higher.


Day 5 (Dec. 21): Crab

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Day 4 (Dec. 20): Cow

Day 3 (Dec. 19): Flamingo

Day 2 (Dec. 18): Cheetah

Day 1 (Dec. 17): Komodo Dragon

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