Sunday, May 1, 2016

PacSciLife Gets a New Home

By Terry Pagos | May 1, 2016

Seven years ago, Pacific Science Center’s Life Sciences Department started the PacSciLife blog as “a peek behind the scenes” with stories of our animal care and horticulture adventures. Today we announce our move from the Blogger URL to our new home at PacSci Perspectives.

The Life Sciences team began this blog as an experiment to see if anyone would be as fascinated with our animals and plants as we are. We are delighted and appreciative for the blog’s success. Readers from around the world view our articles with “hits” that average over 6,000 per month. Of the past 667 blog posts, we’ve noticed that the most popular stories by far are about naked mole rats – especially the pups. Don’t worry. You’ll still be able to keep up with the lives of Elphaba, Galinda and the naked mole rat colony, the Madagascar hissing cockroaches, the pollinator garden, the weekly "Fresh Sheet” and everything else that goes on in Life Sciences. Plus you’ll also be in touch with other fascinating PSC news.

Be sure to bookmark to follow the Life Sciences team at our new web address and get all the news from under the arches!

At PacSci Perspectives you can still read stories about our continuing discoveries while working with plants and animals. But wait. There’s more! Perspectives is also your place to get news regarding PSC’s exhibits, events, programs, and movies. Come take a look. We think you’ll learn even more about the programs Pacific Science Center has to offer.

Read more!

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Fresh Sheet – April 30, 2016

This week you will find tigers, and leopards, and crows! (Oh, my!) in our Tropical Butterfly House. But don’t be afraid. They are all members of the Order Lepidoptera from Malaysia. Stop by and check them out!

Penang Butterfly Farm

83 - Cethosia cyane (Leopard Lacewing)
44 - Chilasa clytia (Common Mime)
18 - Danaus vulgaris (Blue Glassy Tiger)
05 - Euploea core (Common Crow)
80 - Parthenos sylvia (The Clipper)
70 - Tirumala septentrionis (Dark Blue Tiger)

Total = 300

“Fresh Sheet” is our weekly shipment report of pupae on display in the emerging window. Visit Pacific Science Center’s Tropical Butterfly House and meet our newest residents.

Read more!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Farewell to the Angel's Trumpet Tree

By Jenn Purnell

For many years there have been two Angel’s Trumpet trees in our Tropical Butterfly House (Brugmansia × candida). These trees are in the center bed, and have large, pale orange, trumpet-shaped flowers. We have recently decided to remove these two trees and replace them with different plant species. Because the Angel’s Trumpet trees are some of the most recognized and well-loved plants in our Tropical Butterfly House, we want to let everyone know why we are removing them.

Many plants defend themselves from being eaten by producing toxins. There are things we do to minimize guests' exposure to these toxins: asking guests not to touch plants and pruning certain plants so they are out of reach. The Angel’s Trumpet trees are a special challenge because they are large plants that continually grow outward towards the walkway and they drop leaves readily throughout the day. Consuming the foliage can cause severe medical reactions. Now that our trees have grown to fill the entire space, the concern of someone grabbing a leaf has become very real. The plant's beauty is not enough reason to keep something that could harm our guests. Yet a longstanding plant is like a team member, and these trees will be missed.

As sad as we are to lose these two beautiful trees, we are excited to try out some new plants. There are dozens of tropical tree species that have exciting traits – fabulous flowers, interesting bark, nectar for butterflies, ethnobotanic uses, educational potential, etc. We will be removing the Angel’s Trumpet trees over the next few weeks, and trying out two new plant species. Stay tuned to find out more about the newcomers!

Read more!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Stick Insect Amnesty

By Sarah Moore

Do you have some stick insects or walking stick bugs that you inherited from a classroom, or got as a pet, and that you don’t want any more? Did you know that Pacific Science Center has permission from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to accept any non-native stick insects?

The USDA fears that there are many non-native stick bugs that have the potential to become naturalized and harmful pests. We encourage stick bug owners to retire their colonies by bringing them to us. If they are able to escape into the outdoors, these insects are invasive and have the potential to severely harm the environment. Many species of stick insect are parthenogenic, meaning capable of reproducing without males. In other words, eggs from females are viable without being fertilized. So in addition to careful containment of the insect, all their bedding must be destroyed – ideally by freezing. (Do not compost!)

In some states, the USDA has dealt with colonies of these insects being released into new habitats and becoming established. We want to make sure that Seattle and its environs don’t have this happen. We will cheerfully accept any stick insects that are brought to us.

If you would like to bring us your stick insects, please contact us at We will make arrangements for you to bring them in to the Science Center.
Read more!