The Butterflies of December display at Clearwater Memorial Public Library, are in brilliant shades of red; yellow; tangerine; aqua; cobalt blue and many other colors. The butterflies come from widely diverse places such as: Indonesia, Java, Ceylon and South America. The butterfly collection will be on display through the end of January.

CMPL butterfly display

“From where the sun is still shining”

By Alannah Allbrett

   You may remember movies entitled: The Guns of Navarone, or The Missiles of October. Well, this is not that. [These are not they.] This is The Butterflies of December. Richard Whitten, noted entomologist of Orofino, waxed poetic in naming his newest display in the Clearwater Memorial Public Library – and with good reason. He put together a remarkably beautiful display which he said he hopes brings sunshine and color to the shorter and often dark days of December in northern Idaho.

   Some of the butterflies are displayed inverted (flipped over) to show their dazzling colors. And the library is a lovely, warm place to view them. The exhibit is free of charge and easy to find. Just hang a right past the check-out desk, and in the southeast corner, brightening up the room, one will find lovely butterflies that come from exotic Indonesia, Java, Ceylon and South America. The emphasis in this display is beauty.

   If one were a bird flying above the trees and looking down at a flock? gaggle? herd? of butterflies [the correct term is rabble or swarm of butterflies], one would see them as white from the top side. So, Richard Whitten, in his entomological wisdom, knows that if one views the rabble from the underside – all their vivid, wonderful, glorious colors are on display. You don’t have to get on your hands and knees and look at them from under a glass coffee table or crink your neck viewing them suspended from the ceiling. For your comfort and viewing pleasure, Richard has displayed the butterflies (tummy side up) for you to see.

   One family of butterflies, which are in two of the cases, is from the Pieridae family. There are Sulfurs, Whites, Orange Tips and many others including some little temptresses called Jezebels. Another case displays lovely Agrias, red and blue butterflies from the Amazon which Richard calls “Spectacular.”

   Richard Whitten has many more specimens to show you in the future, including butterflies that are camouflaged to imitate the leaves and branches, and blend in with mottled tree bark.

   But for right now, when it’s raining or snowing and it’s dark outside, and you are dreaming of a far away sunny island, Richard wants to treat you to some lovely colorful butterflies “from where the sun is still shining.” The Butterflies of December will be on display in the library Monday through Friday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday; Thursday 9 a.m. - 7 p.m., and Saturday: 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. through the end of January.