Bug Blog

The People Of Taiwan Cannot Get Enough Butterflies

The People Of Taiwan Cannot Get Enough Butterflies

Taiwan is sometimes called “butterfly kingdom”, and with good reason. Taiwan is home to more than four hundred and thirty different butterfly species, only fifty of these species are endemic to the country. The region earned its nickname as the butterfly kingdom during the 1960s. At the time, Taiwan was a major exporter of butterfly specimens. For several years, collectors and butterfly breeders in Taiwan would make a pretty penny selling butterflies to the highest bidders around the world. It is estimated that ten million dollars per year was spent on exotic butterfly species in Taiwan decades ago. In fact, when the butterfly trade was at its peak, the trade brought in an estimated thirty million dollars into Taiwan annually. During this time there also existed a thriving market for butterfly-related crafts, such as jewelry made from butterfly wings. Butterflies are so numerous in Taiwan that data suggests that there exists one hundred and twenty three butterfly species for every four thousand miles. However, Taiwan’s rapid industrial growth has had a negative impact on the native butterfly population. Government officials within the country are concerned with the preservation of the butterflies, and any means of keeping them alive in spite of rapid environmental change is worth considering.

One butterfly preserve that is popular among tourists in Taiwan is the Jinshi Lake Butterfly Garden. This butterfly preserve is located in the Kaohsiung Sanmin District and it is open to visitors year round. Butterflies are pretty easy to spot in this preserve as hundreds of them are clearly visible to visitors immediately after entering the preserve. This preserve contains thirty different butterfly species, and many of them are popular among butterfly enthusiasts. Some of the better known butterfly species contained within this preserve include the swallowtail butterfly, Pieridae, Nymphalidae and the Lycaenidae. Interestingly, visitors are able to view each developmental stage of many butterfly species’ lifecycles. By making regular trips to the preserve, visitors can witness the development of caterpillars into butterflies. Each stage of their development, from egg to larva, and pupa to adult, is on full view in this Taiwanese butterfly garden.

Would you be interested in visiting a butterfly garden?