Jungfrau Zeitung – Cleans Papa Papillon

Nine legends | May 28, 2022

Not long ago I met a master of butterflies and he let him show me his breeding facility in the Berne Bombays. On the same occasion, he also expounded on some myths of stubborn butterflies.

Papa Papillon has been breeding butterflies for over 20 years.Photos: Gina Crockle

You can raise butterflies

The term butterfly breeding is inherently incorrect as it means crossing species of butterflies in order to improve them. But this is not possible. Butterflies do not mate with other species, and even if they did, the result would be a hybrid offspring that would be sterile. Kinds of butterflies we’ve been around since the time of the dinosaurs.

Papillon breeding has little effect on species extinction in its direct effect.

Papillon breeding has little effect on species extinction in its direct effect.

Butterfly farming helps conserve species

This statement is half true. No matter how many butterflies there are each year thanks to breeders like Papillon, reproduction has little direct impact on species extinction. Nevertheless, Papa Papillon’s work is important, as it is the best lesson about endangered animal species we can bring back to our gardens.

The life cycle of a hooktail is much more complex than one might think.

The life cycle of a hooktail is much more complex than one might think.

Butterflies have a short life

Compared to humans, this statement may be true, but upon closer examination, the life cycle of the swallowtail tail, for example, is much more complex. The first moth of the year usually hatches in April or May. Since there are very few flowers, butterflies live only about ten days. Just long enough to mate and lay eggs. The second generation hatches around July and often lives until the first night of frost. If it is warm and dry enough that year, a third generation spends the winter in the pupal stage and then hatches again in the spring.

Cocoons of hook-tails and many other species of butterflies are strong and frost-resistant.

Cocoons of hook-tails and many other species of butterflies are strong and frost-resistant.

frost death

Although butterflies die at the latest when temperatures drop, this is mainly due to the fact that they can no longer find nectar plants. The larvae molt in autumn and winter, sometimes in a strong cocoon. They are frost proof. But as soon as they feel the temperature rise, the mites hatch. That is why you should not take the cocoons of butterflies home in the winter, but always leave them in a cool place to hibernate. Otherwise, they act like their parents. However, they have not had the opportunity to reproduce yet.

Books are not always correct

Books are not always correct

touch death

“Can you touch the wings of a butterfly? Impossible! Because there is dust on the wings. And when that is over, the poor summer birds will not be able to fly anymore.” This is what is mentioned in many books, what the people of the school say and so do the parents. “But that’s nonsense,” says Papa Babylon. There are small scales on the wings that can dent if we touch them. That’s why we don’t. Many butterflies lose scales over and over again in their lives, for example males when they are fighting for a female. At the end of their lives, migratory butterflies are often without scales at all. I still fly.

Sweet fennel is one of the favorite plants of the swallowtail and some other species of butterflies, which is why Papillon grows it so widely in its part of the garden.

Sweet fennel is one of the favorite plants of the swallowtail and some other species of butterflies, which is why Papillon grows it so widely in its part of the garden.

Planting flowers is the best

Yes, butterflies flutter from flower to flower to feed on nectar. But the first thing a butterfly does after hatching is find a mate to mate with. The butterfly does not need any new food for this. He is still alive because of what the caterpillar ate. It will be more beneficial if you provide the females with food plants for laying eggs. In the case of the swallowtail, for example, this is a carrot, fennel, dill or cub. Grow two to three plants in a pot somewhere in a sunny spot in the garden or on the balcony, and it made a few dozen caterpillars very happy. According to Papa Papillon’s motto: “If you love butterflies, you have to love caterpillars.”

What do you think of the smell of the little fox at the hands of Papa Papillon?

What do you think of the smell of the little fox at the hands of Papa Papillon?

Colored clothes carry the risk of confusion

Butterflies can neither see nor hear well. Their strongest sense is smell. So if the butterfly stays with you for a long time and crawls on your skin, it is very likely that it is simply thirsty. They are a little sweaty. The salts and other minerals that are excreted through the skin are very nutritious for butterflies, which is why they like to drink sweat straight from our pores.

The swallowtail can adapt to a variety of habitats.

The swallowtail can adapt to a variety of habitats.

Butterflies are meadow animals

Butterflies are found in almost all climatic zones. While some species require a very specific habitat, others are more resilient. Also in Switzerland, a large proportion of native species live in meadows, but here also very few outliers. Take the swallowtail, for example: it can adapt to a variety of habitats. There is a subspecies on the Portuguese coast that, thanks to its powerful wings, can fly in the sea breeze. High in the Alps we find those with thick fur who drink icy waters. This is in contrast to what is seen in Seeland or in eastern Switzerland, who tend to appear with a bare stomach.

Not all caterpillars are as cute as the swallowtail caterpillar.

Not all caterpillars are as cute as the swallowtail caterpillar.

Hairy larvae are dangerous

There are very few caterpillars that have so-called stinging hairs that can trigger an allergic reaction on our skin. You should not touch them. However, most hairy larvae are harmless. For example, the caterpillar of a brown bear that Papa Papillon loves to take with him when he visits school. This way they can see the children up close. However, if a hairy caterpillar located on the sidewalk cannot be clearly assigned to a harmless species, it is better to play it safe and transfer it to the next meadow on a sheet or stick.

Leave a Comment