Beautiful Butterflies at the Midtown Farmer’s Market

June 13th was all about Butterflies!

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We were joined by two butterfly experts, Dr. Erik Runquist of the Minnesota Zoo Butterfly Conservation Program and Kelly Nail with the University of Minnesota Monarch Lab, Monarch Joint Venture and Monarch Larva Monitoring Project. Check out our Storify to see all the fun and read below!

They brought out live insects and lots of great information on butterflies for Market-goers!

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We had all of the important life stages for butterflies at the table for Market-goers to see and learn about.

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We also had great hands-on activities for our Junior Market Scientists, including making your own caterpillar and designing your own wings.

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We also learned that “lepidoptera” is another name for butterflies and moths. We also learned that it means “scaly winged” because the patterns on butterflies are created by lots of tiny scales.

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We also learned about what different patterns on butterfly wings mean.

The Monarch butterfly is brightly colored in order to tell predators: “Don’t eat me I taste bad”

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This Morning Cloak butterfly has wings that blend into its surroundings for camouflage.

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The tails on this Blue butterfly act as a “false head” to trick predators into biting at the wrong end of the butterfly.

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The big eye-spots on this Owl butterfly are used to startle predators and hopefully scare them away.

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We also had a matching game. See if you can match the caterpillar with its butterfly!

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Match the Caterpillar with the Butterfly

Hints!

You might find caterpillars of Cabbage Whites eating broccoli or kale in your garden.

Young caterpillars of Eastern Tiger Swallowtails look like bird poop when they are little!

Monarch caterpillars can only eat milkweed, which makes them taste bad. They warn potential predators that they taste bad with bright colors.

The tiny caterpillars of the Poweshiek Skipperling depend on prairie grasses. Only 1% of their habitat remains though, and this Minnesota native is now one of the most endangered butterflies in the world.

The spiky caterpillars of the Red Admiral can be found eating stinging nettle.

We had a great time and hope to see everyone next week!

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