Metamorphosis Butterfly Farm
Facilitating joyful experiences with Florida's native butterflies at exhibits nationwide
The Metamorphosis Butterfly Farm, located in Plant City, Florida, was established in 1997. Rhonda Stephens, it's owner, had bought a few plants and caterpillars at a local garden club and when she subsequently witnessed the metamorphosis process, as a caterpillar turned into a butterfly, she was amazed. What emerged in no way resembled what produced it and she thought "everyone has to see this!". Since then it has been her mission to share her experience with as many people as she can. She takes pride in producing a wide variety of healthy butterfly pupae for exhibits nationwide. When she can, she also supports local events, such as butterfly releases and special event exhibits.
The farm has flight houses, shade houses, fields, and a nursery. The flight houses contain nectar and host plants that support healthy butterflies breeding and laying eggs, while the fields and shade houses are used to raise plants. The nursery allows collected eggs to safely transform into caterpillars, which feed on host plants, and then transform into pupae.
A major goal is to produce a variety of healthy pupae at affordable prices. Fortunately, Florida has wide diversity in its native butterflies and the plants they need grow well in Plant City. Exactly what is available depends on the time of year and weather conditions, but typically the farm will produce more than a dozen different types of butterfly pupae in a year.
Rigorous attention is payed to the cleanliness of the butterflies' environment and the health of each pupa is inspected before being shipped overnight to licensed exhibits. Production is carefully planned to meet exhibit needs, so advanced notice for orders is needed.
The primary focus of the farm is pupa production to support exhibits that remain open for most of the year. However, local events, such as special short-term exhibits and butterfly releases (e.g. for weddings or celebrations of life) are supported when sufficient notice is given and resources are available.