Butterflies, Bugs & Beasties at Kew Gardens, 2010
Delve into the hidden world of plant pollination at Butterflies Bugs & Beasties and discover how plants, animals and insects work together to sustain life. The unbelievable stories of plants and pollination will come to life at this large scale installation at the Princess of Wales Conservatory this summer.
Discover some amazing facts about our pollinator friends whilst walking through a flutter of live colourful butterflies and moths within a hot, steamy atmosphere full of tropical orchids and lush ferns!
Pick up a butterfly and moth spotter guide from one of the entrances and look out for an owl butterfly; they have patterned wings that look just like owl eyes. Perfect for scaring off hungry animals!
Bugs & Beasties
- Moths and butterflies are attracted to sweet smells whereas flies love strong smells, like rotting flesh
- Wind pollen can travel up to 3,000 miles
- The hawk moth uses a 30cm long tongue to reach the store of nectar at the bottom of a type of orchid
- Butterflies can see in colour – something not all insects can do
Bugs & Beasties
Come face-to-face with gigantic sculptures of insects, birds and bats located throughout the Princess of Wales Conservatory. These six types of large artistic representations will help narrate the fascinating stories on the relationship between them and the plants. Be greeted by a flock of hummingbirds as you reach the bromeliads or be immersed in the sound of bees swarming around nectar flowers.
Discover the role of flies in pollination and encounter an enormous metal sculpture of the Anthomyiidae fly (right) pollinating the Aristolochia species.
Anthomyiidae is a large and diverse family of Muscoidea flies, the name comes from Greek "anthos" (flower) and "myia" (fly). Aristolochia is a large plant genus collectively known as Dutchman's pipes that are pollinated by flies. However, the pollination system may be deceptive! Flies feed on decaying organic matter so it is unlikely that they depend on the pollen. The flowers attract the flies by imitating brood sites, so the flies lay their eggs in the flowers and pollinate them at the same time, the larvae can then feed on the fallen flowers.
Look out for the five remaining sculptures with fascinating pollination stories, hidden within the Princess of Wales Conservatory.
What is pollination?
Pollination is essential to continue the life-cycle of flowering plants. Flowering plants are the basis of the food chain for most animals and if plants are not pollinated then there will be no seeds and all animals that depend on them would die. Learn about the importance of pollination and navigate your way through all the zones in the Princess of Wales Conservatory where you will experience the many types of pollination, such as self pollination (see below) , wind pollination, bird pollination, bat pollination and insect pollination.
Be introduced to the Euryale ferox in the sting ray pond which will contain a self pollinating waterlily. It has brightly coloured flowers which amazingly open underwater; it is very rare that you will see them from above!
Throughout the day, films narrated by David Attenborough (courtesy of the BBC), will help explain the amazing relationships between flowering plants and their pollinators.
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