Two vibrant new species are coming to the Melbourne Zoo’s Butterfly House

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Two vibrant new species are coming to the Melbourne Zoo’s Butterfly House

Melbourne Zoo
words by talia rinaldo

One of Melbourne's warmest winter venues just got a little more colourful, with the addition of two new species to the Melbourne Zoo Butterfly House

Despite chilly conditions outside, the Butterfly House team is continuing to rear butterflies inside, with the Chocolate Argus and Red Lacewing now joining the hundreds fluttering inside the House.

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Melbourne Zoo Invertebrates Keeper Melvin Nathan said trying to spot both species is the perfect excuse for lingering inside the Butterfly House this winter.

“The Butterfly House is always nice and warm,” Mr Nathan said. “We generally keep it between 26 to 28 degrees Celsius, so in winter time it is probably one of the nicest places to be in.

“When you go in you experience this wonderful, colourful environment and all these amazing creatures flying all around you. It is quite magical.”

Mr Nathan said there are usually around 600 butterflies in the Butterfly House in winter, from around a dozen individual species, including the Chocolate Argus and Red Lacewing.

“Whenever we get a new species of butterfly in it does add to the colour of the house,” Mr Nathan said.

“The Chocolate Argus is a tiny brown butterfly with beautiful orange spots on them. And when they close their wings, they have little pink streaks through their wings as well.

“However, the Chocolate Argus is one of the species that can be quite hard to spot, especially when they close their wings. They mimic a dead leaf when they close their wings, so you have to look closely and, hopefully, you spot them.

“The Red Lacewing looks similar to the Orange Lacewings that people might have seen here, however they are a little larger and, as the name suggests, have more red throughout their wings.”

Zoos Victoria and Melbourne Zoo visitors are reminded that all tickets must be pre-booked online at Zoos Victoria Members no longer need to book but are required to scan their Membership card for entry.