On Saturday and Sunday, July 11 and 12, meet an amazing array of native New England caterpillars in various stages of development, and learn more about caterpillars and butterflies through live presentations and interpretations throughout the Museum of Science.
On Saturday and Sunday from 10 – 3 there will be a Caterpillar Lab. This one-of-a-kind experience is a celebration of the impressive diversity of New England caterpillars. Each individual display includes a variety of caterpillars, in various stages of development and on their local host plants. With no glass between you and the displays, you can experience caterpillars up close — eating, pooping, camouflaging, or defending themselves with clever adaptations such as warning coloration, inflatable horns, strange smells, and squeaking mandibles.
From 1 – 3 on both days you may Create Your Own Butterfly Habitat. With your paid admission to the Butterfly Garden, learn how to create and plant your own butterfly habitat. We’ll discuss the importance of using native plantings and how to get your garden started. Get your hands dirty planting native seeds and take them home to help start attracting butterflies!
On Saturday at 11:30 hear Dr. Gerard Talavera from Harvard University describe the amazing migration of the Painted Lady butterflies, Vanessa cardui. Learn more about the challenging task of studying this beautiful insect, which is found on five continents. Also on Saturday, at 12:30, Dr. Naomi Pierce, curator of Lepidoptera at Harvard University, will introduce you to the insect-eating predators and their nourishing ant prey. Dave Champlin from the University of Maine unravels the amazing transformation of how the butterfly gets its wings on Sunday at 11:30, and finally, on Sunday at 12:30, Norah Warchola from Tufts University discusses the fascinating relationship between an endangered species of caterpillar and the ants that protect it from predators in exchange for a sugary bribe.
Also on Saturday and Sunday there will be presentations on Gardening for Butterflies at 1:30 in the Shapiro Family Science Live! Stage, Green Wing, Lower Level. As a bonus, The Secret Lives of Fireflies will be featured both days at 3:30 pm. Watching fireflies is a special part of warm summer nights in New England. We watch and we enjoy, but do we really know what they are saying? This program sheds a little light on the secret lives of fireflies. You’ll also learn how you can participate in a scientific research effort to find out if these magical insects are disappearing from our landscape, and if so, why and what can be done about it. Solitary Bees: The Other Bees will be discussed at 5:30 pm on Saturday and Sunday. Honey bees are in decline. Since they are responsible for pollinating one third of our food crops, their disappearance threatens our food supply. While scientists try to find out why and how to reverse this trend, our crops still need to be pollinated. Find out how you can help by becoming a “solitary beekeeper.”
While you are at the Museum, don’t miss Flight of the Butterflies at the Mugar Omni Theater each day at 1 pm. Weighing less than a penny, the monarch butterfly makes one of the longest migrations on Earth. Follow this perilous journey and join hundreds of millions of real butterflies in the remote mountain peaks of Mexico, with breathtaking cinematography from an award-winning team. Be captivated by the true, compelling story of an intrepid scientist’s 40-year search to find the monarchs’ secret hideaway. Purchase of separate timed ticket required for Omni film. You may buy these tickets on line at www.mos.org.