Zoo Animals (Swallowtails, Papilionidae)

black and yellow butterfly hovering over flower while feeding
Swallowtail feeding at the Bronx Zoo, in Bronx, New York.

Insects probably aren’t number one on zoogoers’ lists, but I was happy to hear they had a butterfly house/exhibit when I visited the Bronx Zoo a handful of years ago. Seeing it was a little disappointing — I’ve been to a couple nice butterfly conservatories — but it was better than nothing. If the heart of a zoo’s mission is to foster awareness and support for animal and environmental conservation, I think an increased presence of arthropods might be in order. The plight of bees seems to have gained a little traction in the popular consciousness; hopefully it extends to all of our neglected, small creatures.

As for the photos, I’m not sure what kind of butterflies these are, except to say they appear to be swallowtails. Both are a little frayed and worn, but whatever fancy, colorful flower they’re drinking from must have been good, as it was their only care.

large black butterfly with winfs spread feeding on a flower
A swallowtail feeding. At the Bronx Zoo, Bronx, New York. (Black and white version)
large black butterfly with winfs spread feeding on a flower
A swallowtail feeding. At the Bronx Zoo, Bronx, New York.

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