This print was photographed in the
newly rebuilt butterfly house in the Southsea Natural History
Museum at Cumberland House in Eastern Parade, Southsea. The
old butterfly house was built as an extension to the main
building in 1986 but was deemed to be in desperate need of
repair, and so construction of a new state of the art
butterfly house began and was completed in August 2017.
We didn't manage to get along until
around a month or so after the re-opening, and just before it
closed it's doors for the winter. This was probably no bad
thing as it seems the publicity behind the new butterfly house
did it's job very well and over 13,000 visitors attended in
the first month alone, which in itself was a few thousand
higher than the footfall for the whole of 2015.
Cumberland House is not large as
museums go, but it does contain some of the 114,000 natural
science specimens currently held by Portsmouth Museums, so
definitely an interesting and educational visit. Of course my
favourite is the butterfly house, but another piece of
interest is the working beehive, where the 9,000 or so honey
bees raise their young and make honeycombs. The bees enter and
exit the hive via a short tunnel which connects to the outside
and into the gardens, which just so happen to be planted to
attract both bees and butterflies.
As with all of the butterflies here,
the Ornythion Swallowtail is a South American species usually
found in Guatemala and Mexico, however it has been seen as far
north as southern Texas and New Mexico. It is quite large in
comparison to UK butterfly species, with a wingspan measuring
up to 4.5 inches and are typically seen in flight as adults
between April and September.
To find out more about Southsea Natural
History Museum please visit: