Butterflies of Borneo and Beyond

Waterfall in the Singapore Airport Butterfly Garden.

We began our trip to Borneo with a 8 hour layover in the Singapore airport after 18 hours of flying across the Pacific. What better way to spend a long layover than to pay a visit to the beautiful butterfly garden in Singapore’s airport. When we first entered the butterfly garden, we immediately felt the humidity of the room that served as ideal conditions for the numerous species of butterflies found in this garden. We were captivated by the high biodiversity of butterflies ranging from species that had wings painted with vibrant colors to various smaller moth species. Not only were we surrounded by fluttering butterflies, but we also witnessed a butterfly emerge from a cocoon!

Professor Gretchen Coffman with Jenna Rinde, Shelan Zuhdi, and Flora Hayes.

Once the butterflies reach full maturity, they will emerge out of these cocoons protected behind this glass enclosure. After witnessing a butterfly emerge out of a cocoon, we learned the main differences between butterflies and moths. Butterflies are most active in the day whereas moths are most active at night. In addition, butterflies sleep with their wings closed while moths sleep with their wings open. Visiting the butterfly garden was such an enjoyable experience and we hope to see many more butterfly species such as the Junonia orithya found deep in the dense tropical rainforest of the Lower Kinabatangan River!

By Shelan Zuhdi