Love your pollinators? Don't forget butterflies!

11 November 2019

Imagine living in a world without your morning coffee, chocolate indulgences, flowers or fruit. That would be the reality without pollinating insects.

Most people think of bees, but there’s another very special colourfully-winged insect that’s just as important – the beautiful butterfly.

Melbourne Zoo’s keepers are spreading the word about butterflies in celebration of Australian Pollinator Week this week (November 10-17).

Melbourne Zoo Ectotherms Keeper Jess Sinclair said butterflies frequently fly far and wide between one plant and another to pollinate.

“Butterflies, like various other insects, help transfer pollen from a male part of a plant to a female part of a plant,” Ms Sinclair said. “This enables fertilisation and seed production for new plants to grow.”

She said Australian Pollinator Week aims to raise awareness about pollinators and their role in the ecosystem, and educate communities and businesses about how to support the precious insects’ needs.

Australian Pollinator Week aims to raise awareness about pollinators and their role in the ecosystem, and educate communities and businesses about how to support the precious insects’ needs.

“There is an alarming decline in pollinator populations around the world, due to pesticides and habitat destruction for human use,” Ms Sinclair said. “So we need to generate awareness to help butterflies and pollinators thrive, especially during the Spring and Summer seasons.

“So much of their work goes unnoticed, but they play an essential role in the environment and enable new generations of various types of plants to flourish.”

Ms Sinclair is encouraging the public to support butterflies and various other pollinators with some really simple actions.

“People at home can help by planting a variety of native plants in their own backyard that flower all year round,” she said.

Zoo Members and visitors are invited to learn about and see more than 500 active butterflies pollinating in Melbourne Zoo’s immersive Butterfly House this Spring and Summer.

“The butterflies are super active this time of year, and it’s incredible to see pollination occurring right in front of your eyes,” Ms Sinclair said. 

You can visit Melbourne Zoo’s Butterfly House during Australian Pollinator week or any other day from 9am-5pm, seven days a week.