After being closed to the public for two years, Carleton’s Biology Butterfly Show opened its doors to in-person visitors in October for the first time since the pandemic began in 2020.

The show was in the university’s butterfly house, or lepidopterarium. The spotlight species this year were the Emerald Swallowtail, Giant Owl, Great Mormon, White Tree Nymph and Blue Morpho. Capital Current photojournalist Hibah Salaria was on hand to capture the beauty and variety of these insects.

A Blue Clipper butterfly is native to south and southeast Asia and prefers forested areas. The Clipper can be found in a variety of different colours. Some appear as blue, green, brown and even gold, according to Reiman Gardens, Iowa State University. [Photo @Hibah Salaria]
Heliconius doris, otherwise known as Doris Longwing, is a forest-dwelling species found in Central America and the Amazon rainforest. Similar to all Heliconius, the Doris Longwing is a sub-species that can live for a couple of months, long for a butterfly. The Doris Longwing has a similar shape to all of the Heliconius chrysalides, but they lack the spines found on the others, according to to Reiman Gardens, Iowa State University, [Photo @Hibah Salaria]
The beautiful Leopard Lacewing, Cethosia cyane, can be found in Southeast Asia. The male and female butterfly have different colourings and patterns, with the males having brighter colours on the outside of their wings and orange colouring on the inside. [Photo @Hibah Salaria]
For the first time in two years, visitors to the Butterfly Show were able to see the butterflies in person. A lucky few got to feed them, as well. Butterflies feed on sugars found in the nectar of flowers and also in fruit. Here, a Butterfly Show attendee feeds a Giant Owl butterfly an orange from his hand. These butterflies are naturally found in Mexico, Central and South America and like to fly at dusk when there are fewer predators in the air, according to Carleton University’s Faculty of Science. [Photo @ Hibah Salaria]
This butterfly is a Heliconius hecale, also known as a Tiger Longwing. The species can be found in Central America and in the Amazon. Tiger longwings protect themselves from predators by mimicking the wing patterns and colours of other, poisonous species. Tiger Longwings are known to copy the ithomiine butterfly, known to carry alkaloids in its body that make it distasteful to predators. Birds end up avoiding both species because they are unable to spot the differences between them, according to the U.K. Natural History Museum. [Photo @ Hibah Salaria]