A bug’s life: Experiencing the world of insects at the Montréal Insectarium
The museum’s grand reopening has started a new chapter for the city’s entomological community
The Montréal Insectarium saw its grand reopening on April 13. The museum was founded in 1990 by entomologist Georges Brossard, and encourages close encounters between its visitors and a collection of living, breathing insect species.
Marie-Joelle Fillion, Director of Communications at Espace pour la Vie, said that “the renovations would fully modernise the Montréal Insectarium, allowing visitors to truly immerse themselves into the world of insects.”
The renovations included the addition of the Great Vivarium, a greenhouse with varying pollinator gardens.
The Great Vivarium houses approximately 150 different plant species and 175 different insect species year round, such as ants, beetles, butterflies, mantids, millipedes, and moths.
Justin Rousseau, an interpreter at the Montréal Insectarium, said that visitors can experience the innate behaviours of approximately 180 different butterfly species, which typically originate from the tropical forests of the Americas and Southeastern Asia.
“At this time, the greenhouse has approximately 60 different species, with countless such as morphos and swallowtails, within their reproductive period,” he said.
Thoas swallowtails (Papilio thoas), during their caterpillar stage, feed on the leaves of citrus and pepper plants, and during their adult stage, breed.
François Couture, who has photographed butterflies for approximately 20 years now, visited the Montréal Insectarium to meet with his inspiration, “the monarch [Danaus plexippus], which, every Fall, migrates approximately 3 000 km from Southern Canada to Mexico,” he said.
Rozanne Meranger, a Professor of Biology for the Department of Biological Sciences at l’Université de Montréal, visited the museum and was amazed by the multiple colonies of Mexican leaf-cutter ants (Atta mexicana) within the Great Vivarium.
According to Rousseau, these insects typically have a single queen alongside several gatherers, soldiers, and gardeners.
“The Mexican leaf-cutter ants are such driven little organisms,” said Meranger.
Aspiring wildlife conservationisits and enthusiasts waiting to experience these close encounters for themselves can reserve tickets online.