During the AZA 2012 poster session, I came across an intriguing group describing how they’ve successfully trained butterflies for interactions. Yes, you read that correctly. In actuality, “training” is somewhat a misnomer for butterflies; more accurately, they are habituated for handling, and manipulated into long basking periods (by understanding the natural physiology and behavior of the insects).
Woodman, Kim and Kassinger have seen the benefits of these increased and prolonged interactions through guest enjoyment, but also by leveraging the experience for revenue potential: the consistency of behavior allows for guaranteed photo ops.
Learn more about their project and how you can create your own program by reading their full paper here: Butterfly Experiences by Woodman, Kim & Kassinger