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Rare Orion Cecropian Butterfly Spotted at the National Butterfly Center

(Mission, TX) The 'Stinky Leafwing' or Orion Cecropian, as it is properly named, was photographed at the National Butterfly Center, in Mission, Texas, on Sunday, September 10, 2012. This is only the fourth documented sighting of this species in the United States—and the second occurrence at the Center.

This tropical butterfly is a strong and solitary flier, with a large wingspan of approximately 11 centimeters. Common to the West Indies, South & Central America, the Orion Cecropian prefers forested habitats such as the deciduous woodlands of Costa Rica, the rainforests of the Amazonian jungle, and the cloud forests near the base of the Andes Mountains. 'Stinky' in the Orion's nickname most likely refers to the putrid or rotting fruit on which it feeds. In fact, both times the Orion Cecropian has been seen at the National Butterfly Center, we have had fermenting bait, known as "butterfly brew", at stations throughout the gardens and along the humid, sheltering Hackberry Trail.

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17th Annual Texas Butterfly Festival at the National Butterfly Center

Register Today, and Join Us October 26-28

Dr. Robert Michael Pyle, Texas Butterfly Festival Keynote Speaker.  

Photo by Benjamin Drummon and Sara Joy Steele

MISSION, TX – The Greater Mission Chamber of Commerce invites the Rio Grande Valley community to attend the 17th Annual Texas Butterfly Festival to be held at the National Butterfly Center located on 3333 Butterfly Park Drive in Mission, Texas, on October 26th – 28th 2012. Join us this fall during the peak season of butterfly abundance and diversity, for an unforgettable weekend at the most biologically diverse region in the United States. Four ecosystems converge in this four county area; with its sub-tropical climate, the area boasts over 300 species of butterflies.  This year’s festival will feature a Keynote Address by Dr. Robert Michael Pyle, a lepidopterist (a person who studies butterflies) and one of the most sought-after butterfly speakers and teachers in the country. He is the founder of the Xerces Society and the author of Mariposa Road. His seventeen books include several national award-winners, as well as butterfly standards such as the Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Butterflies, The Handbook for Butterfly Watchers, and The Butterflies of Cascadia. This annual festival will also include seminars, guided tours, an expo, and a community family day with various activities for the entire family.

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How Biomimicry is Inspiring Human Innovation

Creative minds are increasingly turning to nature—banyan tree leaves, butterfly wings, a bird's beak— for fresh design solutions

By Tom Vanderbilt
Smithsonian magazine, September 2012,

The first thing you notice about the entomology collections department, Lepidoptera division, at the Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History is a faint, elusively familiar odor. Mothballs. I briefly contemplated the cosmic irony of mothballs in a room full of moths (and butterflies, a lineage of moths evolved to fly during the day) before turning to Bob Robbins, a research entomologist. “There are many insects that will eat dried insects,” he said, “so traditionally you kept those pests out using naphthalene, or mothballs.”

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National Butterfly Center Announces New Executive Director

The North American Butterfly Association (NABA) is pleased to announce Marianna Trevino Wright has joined the organization as Executive Director of the National Butterfly Center. The National Butterfly Center is a flagship project of NABA, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the conservation and study of wild butterflies in their native habitats.

Ms. Wright brings extensive experience in organizational development, operations, marketing, and fundraising to the National Butterfly Center. Prior to becoming the Center's Executive Director, Ms. Wright was the Executive Director of The Foundation at Mission Regional Medical Center, and the Texas Project Manager for the worldwide Christian Children's Fund.

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We are grateful for the support of:

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Inside the National Butterfly Center

Hours of Operation

September - March
8:00 - 5:00

April - August
9:00 - 4:00

Come See Us

National Butterfly Center
3333 Butterfly Park Drive
Mission, TX 78572
956-583-5400
GPS Coordinates:
26.180243 -98.364973

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