From Places like Peru to You!

Table of Contents:

Our frames feature 100% REAL butterflies! Don't worry, they are never harmed in the process! We have relationships with a variety of suppliers, all of which legally source their butterflies from farms that NEVER HARM the beautiful creatures that are preserved for life in our unique, and eye catching art! Not only does the creation of our frames help support natural butterfly habitats, they also provide a great source of income for the incredibly talented professionals who put them together!
As of now, all our frames come from Peru, home to 20% of the worlds butterfly population, and in order to get them to you, they first need to pass through U.S. Fish & Wildlife which requires that every package be declared and inspected to ensure it meets all rules and regulations. The process requires many permits and licenses, takes considerable time, and results in a very expensive process. However, we want as many people as possible to enjoy bringing nature into their homes and offices in this unique and captivating way, so we always strive to offer our frames at the best prices possible!

More About Our Suppliers:

Our biggest supplier sources their butterflies, and handcrafts all of their frames, in the breathtaking and fascinating country of Peru: home to more butterfly species than any where else in the world! With naturally short life cycles, these beautiful creatures get to live out their entire life in giant, netted butterfly farms where they're raised in a conservation effort, free from any natural predators like birds, wasps, and even monkeys (some monkeys actually enjoy the occasional butterfly snack)!
After the butterflies go through their life cycle, reproduce, and die naturally, they are professionally deconstructed and preserved and then artistically mounted in hand crafted shadow box frames!
Every frame is handcrafted, even down to some of the dye used to paint the wood: The natural frames use a dye derived from Peruvian Rain Forest tree roots, so every batch has a slightly different hue!
Not only do our butterfly frames provide an awesome way to appreciate the breathtaking beauty of nature, their production also protects butterflies' natural habitats by only utilizing farm-raised butterflies. We don't sell any wild caught or endangered butterflies! In addition, our frames give local Peruvians the ability to make a living off one of the few valuable resources available for them to utilize. 
Butterfly enthusiasts can look forward to new frames sourced from different suppliers that feature novel designs and features, such as UV resistant glass, more artistic arrangements, and white frames! For more information on these upcoming product offerings, and to inquire about reserving frames, feel free to reach out to us at happycactusgifts@gmail.com 
You can browse and purchase our butterfly frames on the Butterfly Catalog page (Not up and functional yet but we are working on getting it ready to go soon!) OR email us at happycactusgifts@gmail.com to request a product line sheet, with which you'll be able to view a description of the potential butterflies in the frame, example pictures, the dimensions, the price, and information on how to order some of these breath taking and unique ways to bring life into the home!
IMPORTANT NOTICE: The pictures on the Butterfly Catalog will only be examples. Each frame features different butterflies that will fit the product description and some of the larger frames have varying designs. To pick the EXACT frame you want, find us at a market and buy your frame in person! (its also cheaper: you don't have to pay for shipping and handling!!!)

All About Butterflies:

About Their Name:
If you asked around, you could probably find an endless supply of stories as to how butterflies got their name. One of the popular beliefs is that the name is derived from the phrase "butter-colored fly". The Brimstone butterfly, one of the UK's most well known species, is one of the first to emerge from hibernation and be seen in Spring. So its possible that this popular butterfly's buttery yellow appearance helped pave the way for the term used for the vast variety of these beautiful bugs! Another possibility is that the name pays reference to butterflies' attraction to buttermilk. Back in the day and in some parts of the world today, where people hand churn their milk, its said that butterflies are attracted to buttermilk and can be seen flocking to the nearest churn! 

The Butterfly Life Cycle:

Butterflies life span varies considerably by species. Their life cycle consists of four stages:
- First an adult female butterfly lays eggs. This is often done on the leaf of a specific, species preferred plant
- Next, the larva, or caterpillar, hatches from the egg. Its first meal is actually its own egg! The caterpillar then eats leaves or flowers almost constantly if weather permits. It increases up to several thousand times in sizes before pupating and forming a chrysalis (butterfly) or cocoon (moth). As it grows, the caterpillar molts, or sheds its skin, many times. 
- In the pupa stage the insect rests and forms the chrysalis in which it undergoes metamorphosis (transforms) into a beautiful adult butterfly.
- In the final stage, an adult butterfly emerges from the chrysalis and goes about the rest of its life cycle, reproducing and then dying. The average life span for adult butterflies is around 2-6 weeks, but some species, such as the Heliconius erato and Taygetic mermeria (species native to south america) can live for 11 months! 
From the egg stage, it usually takes around 3 week to become an adult butterfly, however this can also very greatly by species and some species can take 2 years to finish their life cycle.
While caterpillars use strong mandibles (jaws) to chow down on tasty leaves and flowers, adult butterflies can only drink liquid food using their proboscis, a long, tube-like tongue. Most butterflies live on nectar from flowers.

Why Peru?

Its estimated that there is somewhere between 18,000 to 21,000 different species of butterflies! Peru is home to more species (3,700-4,000+) than any where else on earth and can proudly claim to host about 20% of the world's butterfly population. Central and South America, including countries such as Brazil, Columbia and Ecuador, is home to around 7,500 species. The variety of environments in Peru, from deserts to grasslands and rain forests, helps contribute to the vast number of species that thrive in the South American country. Peru's tropical climate has also made it the perfect escape for butterfly species during ice ages, causing the number of different butterflies that call the country home to increase over time. 
Butterflies are cold blooded and as a result their size and characteristics are greatly affected by the environment they inhabit. In colder climates, caterpillars grow slowly and are only apple to produce small or medium sized butterflies at slow rates, as much of their life is spent hibernating and protecting themselves from the cold, inhibiting them from eating and growing. In the warmer, more tropical areas like Peru, butterflies are able to continuously feed, grow far more rapidly, and reach greater adult sizes as a result. 

Moths vs. Butterflies:

Moths are a type of butterfly! Both belong to the order of Lepidoptera. In the order, there are 34 super families, of which 95% of the species are nocturnal and referred to as Moths. Although moths are often thought as being duller in color than traditional butterflies, there are some species that feature breathtaking patterns and colors! Some of our best selling frames feature Urania moths, such as the Urania rypheus (ripheus), which showcases a fascinating wing pattern with brilliant orange, blues and yellows.
Common Differences:
- Unlike butterflies who usually fly during the day, moths tend to be nocturnal.
- Butterfly antennas are usually long and thin while those of moths are shorter and feathery.
- The caterpillar of a butterfly produces a shiny chrysalis that hangs, while moths form silky cocoons found on the ground.
- Butterflies rest with their wings closed while moths do so with their wings open.

Male vs. Female:

In many species its often quite easy to spot the difference between males and females. Usually, males are bright in color and feature more eye catching patterns. Some species, however, have more subtle differences such as the males having more angular wings with lankier bodies. In regards to behavior, males can often be seen patrolling and defending their habitats and territories. Females, on the other hand, are a bit less active and can often be found in close proximity to adequate supplies of food. 

Butterfly Fun Facts:

#1: There are over 20,000 species of butterflies and more than 140,000 species of moths!
#2: Butterflies' eyes are made up of thousands of lenses and receptors that can produce an almost 360 degree view and can detect UV light!
#3: Butterfly wings are actually clear! The beautiful colors and patterns you can see on the butterflies in our frames are scales that cover their wings.
#4: Metamorphosis - the process that turns caterpillars into butterflies - usually takes 10-15 days.
#5: Some species of butterflies are picky.. they only lay their eggs on one type of plant!