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Butterflies galore at Shanghai Zoo

September 27, 2019

Shanghai Zoo is holding its 7th butterfly exhibition between September 28 and November 11 for children to learn about different types, learn their habits and see how they emerge from their chrysalises.

The zoo will release 80,000 butterflies of 30 species over the period and some were released at its butterfly house on Thursday in a trial operation. 

Introducing one of the species, Li Qing told visitors: "This is a male papilio polytes, which is called 'jade belt swallowtail butterfly' in Chinese because the pattern at the end of its wings looks like a jade belt. When a male and a female are mating, they will 'dance' with each other so people also call them the 'Liang Zhu' butterfly."

Liang Zhu is the abbreviation of traditional Chinese romance "Butterfly Lovers," often described as China’s “Romeo and Juliet.” The two main characters, Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai, become butterflies after they took their own lives when their relationship was opposed by their families.

The exhibition will also feature species native to Shanghai, which residents may encounter in going about their daily lives.

Visitors can sign up for butterfly-themed speeches and zoo tours during the period.

At the butterfly house, there are various plants arranged for the butterflies to rest and suck nectar. Slices of sweet fruit such as oranges and bananas are also placed on plates as a meal for the butterflies.

Visitors will be able to see chrysalises on many tree trunks with some 5,000 placed at the house for visitors to see closely how a larva becomes an adult.

Over the holiday period, the zoo will also be providing games and quizzes for children.