It’s important to us that we offer customers a chance to experience the beauty of butterflies, moths and insects in a sustainable way. So since our business began, we’ve used responsibly managed sources that do not take living animals from the wild. Therefore, our business relies on sustainability.

We pride ourselves on using carefully selected breeders and farms that contribute towards economic growth and conservation. All of the specimens in our products are raised on carefully selected farms which help to preserve the natural rainforest habitats. In addition, they provide local workers with an ethical income.

Hopefully, our real butterfly, moth and insect frames will give people the opportunity to see and learn about species they may never get a chance to see in natural environments. We hope our products brighten homes and inspire people to learn.

Things we don’t sell

None of the butterfly, moth or insect specimens we sell are harmed or killed. Specimens expire from natural causes (end of life specimens). Due to this, everything we use in our products has lived a full life cycle.

Rio Butterflies do not sell or entertain the idea of trading in rare or endangered species. We cannot and will not enter into communications with anyone wanting to source endangered butterflies or insects.

Our frames only contain butterflies, moths and insects. We do not sell preserved mammals, reptiles or amphibians or other forms of taxidermy.

What is a butterfly/insect farm?

Butterfly and insect farms breed live, healthy specimens in carefully controlled environments.

Female butterflies are placed in a large enclosure. They are surrounded by the same plants they would naturally find in the wild to lay their eggs on.  A single female butterfly can lay between 100 to 500 eggs in her lifetime. For this reason, only a few female specimens are required.

In the wild, butterfly eggs only have an approximate 5% chance of survival. On a butterfly farm, the chance of survival increases to around 95%. Around 20% of all the butterflies bred on farms are released into the wild.

Caterpillars are allowed to pupate from the eggs and consequently turn into butterflies. These butterflies in turn then mate and the cycle begins all over again, promoting sustainability.

The lifespan of a butterfly depends on the species. Some live for a few weeks, whilst others can live for a few months. The Atlas moth, the largest species of moth in the world (with a wingspan averaging 12 inches) lives just for a few days.

Deceased butterflies are then gathered for specimen collectors like ourselves. Farms include universities, zoos, nature centres, butterfly houses and museums amongst their customers. Like us, these places aim to share the beauty of the natural world with people.

Where are our butterfly farms located?

We use a variety of farms and breeders. Some are located here, in the UK. There are many butterfly and insect farms around the world that contribute to the sustainability of butterflies and insects. A large majority are located in tropical areas and rainforests, close to natural food and breeding sources for the various specimens. Some of the biggest farms are located in:

  • South America
  • Central Africa
  • Madagascar
  • China
  • Southeast Asia
  • New Guinea
  • Australia

How do butterfly/insect farms promote conservation?

Farms play an active role in conservation and sustainability. They provide an alternative to traditional farming practices and even counteract deforestation. Butterfly farms are reliant upon native plant species and therefore require areas of land to remain intact to provide a food source for the caterpillars. When butterfly and insect habitats are protected, many other plant and animal species benefit indirectly from the protection of the natural environment.

What about economic growth?

Working on a butterfly/insect farm is sometimes the only source of employment for villagers. This is particularly true in poorer parts of the world. Whilst promoting the need to protect the environment, it also gives villagers a chance to earn without the need to resort to deforestation.