Spend a moment in our Butterfly Rainforest with Ryan talking about the Tree nymph, Idea leuconoe, native to Southeast Asia. It is also called the paper kite or the rice paper butterfly. Because of the species of plants it feeds on, it is toxic to predators.

These butterflies are large, and tend to glide or flutter, making them quite noticeable in the exhibit!


Welcome to the Butterfly Rainforest at the Florida Museum of Natural History. My name is Ryan and today we’ll be releasing a butterfly called the Tree nymph. It hails from Southeast Asia. Although, it does have several other names. It might be known as the paper kite or the rice paper. Entirely depends on which butterfly house you happen to go to. But regardless, it’s a big flashy kind of creamy white and black butterfly that is very closely related to the Monarch, believe it or not.

And you see it looks very similar on both sides of its wings and that is often an indicator that a butterfly like this is toxic, and this is true. So by toxic I mean that if you’re a bird and you decide you want to eat this butterfly, if you did you’d get sick and you’d throw up. So don’t go around eating any Tree nymphs if you happen to visit the butterfly house.

They do also migrate, as the Monarch butterfly does, although not nearly as long or in great of numbers. Maybe a couple hundred miles compared to the Monarchs 2,000 plus miles.

They are also fond of feeding on many different types of flowers. They’ll try almost anything. So if you go to a butterfly house and you happen to see them, don’t be surprised if you see them feeding on some unusual flower, say, an impatiens that you might not normally see a butterfly feeding on.

We hope you get that chance. Hope to see you here at the Butterfly Rainforest. Hope you enjoyed. Hope you have a great rest of the day.

Thank you.

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Video by Ryan Fessenden; Produced by Radha Krueger