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The Story of the Butterfly cover image

The Story of the Butterfly 2004

Highly Recommended

Distributed by Janson Media, 88 Semmons Road, Harrington Park, NJ 07640; 201-784-8488
Produced by The Stratford-upon-Avon Butterfly farm, MyTinCan Multimedia Productions
Director n/a
DVD, color, 30 min.

Biology, environmental Studies, Science

Date Entered: 12/02/2004

Reviewed by Gloria Maxwell, Reference Librarian, Penn Valley Community College, Kansas City, MO

There are 20,000 different butterfly species. Most of their life is spent in the caterpillar stage. Fossils indicate that butterflies and moths have been around for at least 50 million years. Survival is precarious for the butterfly at every stage of its life, from egg to caterpillar, and then from chrysalis to butterfly. Presented in easily comprehended stages, the program follows a Papilio memnon (the Great Monarch butterfly) through its complete life cycle. Viewers learn about their predators, the difference between a cocoon and a chrysalis, winter survival, and their migratory range. One of the most interesting segments relates to the patterns in which adult butterflies lay their eggs, which plants and leaves they select (depending on their species), and the importance of camouflage - for butterflies, caterpillars, chrysalis and eggs - in avoiding attacks of predators. Some species are protected because they are poisonous or have a bad taste; others are protected by mimicry of those attributes.

Butterflies play an important role in spreading pollen for the reproduction of many plants and flowers. Sadly, 10% of butterfly species have gone extinct over the last 200 years. As one of the early predictors for environmental stress, this is alarming. This program includes suggestions for help with local conservation efforts - simple things like planting plants that attract butterflies and using safe pesticides. Anyone - teacher or parent - who wants to teach children about the life cycle of the butterfly or the message of practical conservation will want to view this DVD.

Beautiful photography and videography throughout make for a pleasurable learning experience. The photography provides close-up images of actual butterflies in their natural habitats. The graphics provide a visual depiction of the stages of a butterfly’s life cycle in easily comprehended drawings. The graphic representations show the details of their body, wings, and antennae. A pleasant musical background enhances the viewing experience.

Suitable for K-12 science and library collections. Teachers will find this a very helpful tool for teaching the life cycle of the butterfly.

Highly recommended.