ZooAmerica Conservation News: February 2022

Update on Regal Fritillary Project

Since 2011, ZooAmerica has been involved in a cooperative project with Fort Indiantown Gap to raise Regal Fritillary butterflies for release into new areas of the state. 

Each year in late August, our staff collects a small number of female Fritillaries from Fort Indiantown Gap. The newly hatched caterpillars consume their own eggshells before going into hibernation for the fall and winter.

Over 13,000 Regal Fritillary larva are currently hibernating through the winter in the two environmental chambers in the butterfly lab. In spring, we will wake these tiny pepper speck-sized larva to release them at a reintroduction site. They will increase their weight over 4000-fold, over a five week period, before forming a chrysalis. Three weeks later, they emerge as beautiful adult regal fritillaries.