Friday, December 31, 2010

Fresh Sheet – December 31, 2010

Here is our last shipment of pupae for the year 2010. From everyone at PacSciLife and Pacific Science Center – Happy New Year!

Costa Rica

15 - Archeoprepona demophon (One-spotted Prepona)
19 -Catonephele numilia (Numilia)
08 - Chlosyne janais (Crimson Patch)
35 - Consul fabius (Tiger Leafwing)
07 - Danaus gilippus (Queen)
45 - Danaus plexippus (The Monarch)
26 - Greta oto (Glasswing)
16 - Hamadryas feronia (Variable Calico)
28 - Heliconius cydno (Cydno Longwing)
59 - Heliconius hecale (Tiger Longwing)
32 - Heraclides anchisiades (Ruby-spotted Swallowtail)
29 - Hypna clytemnestra (Silver-studded Leafwing)
22 - Mechanitis polymnia (Polymnia Tigerwing)
40 - Morpho peleides (Blue Morpho)
23 - Parides iphidamas(Iphidamas or Transandean Cattleheart)
08 - Phoebis philea (Orange Barred Sulfur)
36 - Siproeta stelenes(Malachite)

Total = 448

“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!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Fresh Sheet - December 25, 2010

Pacific Science Center is closed for Christmas but will open Sunday December 26th to celebrate the 12th anniversary of the Tropical Butterfly House. Come in from the cold and rain and join the party!


35 - Battus polydamas (Polydamus Swallowtail)
40 - Heraclides thoas (Giant Swallowtail)
40 - Heraclides anchisiades (Ruby-spotted Swallowtail)
15 - Heliconius melpomene (Postman)
05 - Heliconius hecale (Tiger Longwing)
30 - Dryas iulia (Julia Longwing)
30 - Catonephele orites (Orange-banded shoemaker)
40 - Anartia amathea (Scarlet Peacock)
05 - Nessaea aglaura (Aglaura Olivewing)
40 - Caligo memnon (Owl Butterfly)
10 - Mechanitis polymnia (Polymnia Tigerwing)
10 - Phoebis sennae (Cloudless Sulphur)

Total = 300

El Salvador

30 - Caligo memnon (Owl Butterfly)
30 - Catonephele numilia (Numilia)
20 - Consul fabius (Tiger Leafwing)
10 - Dryadula phaetusa (Banded Orange Heliconian)
10 - Heliconius hortense (Mountain Longwing)
60 - Morpho peleides (Blue Morpho)
20 - Myselia cyaniris (Blue Wave Butterfly)
20 - Myscelia ethusa (Royal Blue Butterfly)
10 - Papilio erostratus (Dusky Swallowtail)
10 - Papilio torquatus (Band-gapped Swallowtail)
15 - Parides montezuma (Montezuma Cattleheart)
10 - Prepona omphale=archeoprepona omphale (Blue Belly-Button)
20 - Siderone nemesis (Red-striped Leafwing)
20 - Tithorea harmonia (Harmonia Tigerwing)

Total = 285

Grand Total = 585

“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!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Birthday Tropical Butterfly House

The Tropical Butterfly House will celebrate its twelfth year on Sunday, December 26, 2010. In honor of the occasion, the Life Sciences staff is throwing a birthday party for the butterflies. And everyone’s invited!

As in previous years, a colorful birthday fruit arrangement will be offered to our fruit eating Lepidoptera.

Science Interpreters will be on hand to answer questions about our butterflies, plants and history. As always, entrance to the Tropical Butterfly House is free with admission to Pacific Science Center. Please join us at the warmest, friendliest place in Seattle on Sunday. Bring friends and family and help us celebrate twelve years of beauty and enjoyment!
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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Happy Holidays!

Recently we received a question about an older blog post that featured the naked mole-rats eating their way through a jack-o-lantern during Halloween. The reader asked how the naked mole-rats celebrate Christmas. This is actually the first time we’ve gotten this question, and it got us thinking.

One might argue that naked mole-rats should celebrate Kwanzaa, since it is the first holiday created specifically for African Americans and our naked mole-rats are from Africa. But there is a big candelabra, called a kinara, involved with all Kwanzaa celebrations. We fear that it might be too dangerous to keep a candle inside our naked mole-rats’ home.

The seven principles of Kwanzaa are: Unity, Self-Determination, Collective Work and Responsibility, Cooperative Economics, Purpose, Creativity, and Faith. Naked mole-rats certainly embody at least a few of those principles, and Hairless Houdini is definitely working on the self-determination one.

The opposing argument would be that they celebrate Festivus, which falls on December 23rd. As we all know, Festivus is celebrated every year with the traditional airing of grievances, followed by the feats of strength. These are two activities that the naked mole-rats perform with each other pretty much on a daily basis.

After giving it some thought, we think naked mole-rats definitely would celebrate “Festivus for the rest of us”. It has been called “another way to celebrate the holiday season without participating in its pressures or commercialism”. You can celebrate Festivus (or any holiday) with the naked mole-rats by visiting them at Pacific Science Center today and looking for their shiny, unadorned aluminum Festivus pole. We’ll leave it up for the duration of the holiday (one day).

Many happy holidays to all of our readers from the naked mole-rats and the entire Life Sciences Team!

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Welcome Back Cari

Fans of the tide pool will be delighted to know that Cari Garand is back in the Animal Care program at Pacific Science Center. With her expertise and enthusiasm for marine life, as well as her engaging public speaking skills, we are excited to have her back on board.

Want to know more about Cari and the other members of the Life Sciences Department? Click here!

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Sunday, December 19, 2010

It's Official!

The corn snake formerly known as "Hey You" now has a name. Thanks to all the loyal readers who participated in our recent naming contest here and on Facebook. The winning name is ...


Here is the vote count:

Nacho 15
Checkers/Patches 11
Fluffy 2
Mobius 2
Sir William Biscuit 2
Harry Potter related names 3
Houdini 2
Other write-ins (1 vote each) 9

Some of our mathematically gifted readers may notice that out of 27 replies we ended up with 46 votes. Life Sciences Manager Sarah Moore explains:

“I took some liberties here. For example some people voted more than once, saying in effect ‘I nominate the following write-in name but if you don’t use that, my preference among the offered choices is …X.’ In that case I counted both votes. I also included several votes that came to by other methods than the blog. Most families ended up all voting for the same name, and I counted all the votes. I’m honored that there were family discussions on this subject and I’m happy to give votes to those too young to post on our blog. I bundled together very similar names.”

No matter how we look at it, the people have spoken. Our new corn snake will henceforth and forever be known as Nacho!

The food photograph of nachos has been adapted from one in the public domain.

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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Stick Insect Babies

Australian prickly stick insects (Extatosoma tiaratum) are a mainstay of Pacific Science Center’s Insect Village. They live just over a year, so to have continuous insects, we rear them through their whole life cycle.

Each year, we incubate and hatch out eggs. As they grow, the stick insects will shed five times in the process of becoming adults. They will then mate and lay eggs, which we collect and hatch out, to start the cycle again.

This year, the last of the adults was starting to age before the first of their eggs hatched. We did not want a gap in our population, and started looking for some new recruits to fill the gap. Martin Feather of the San Antonio Zoo came to the rescue. He had plenty of 2nd instar (developmental or growth stage) stick bugs, more than he could use. After confirming that they were allowed on our USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) permit, he packed them up and sent them over.

These new youngsters arrived with some of their host plant material. They had been eating eucalyptus, but appear to be transitioning to wax myrtle without complaint. Come see them next time you visit.

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Saturday, December 11, 2010

Fresh Sheet – December 11, 2010

The beautiful Mamba Swordtail also known as Black Swordtail butterfly arrived this week in Seattle along with 31 other species. Come see them!

El Salvador

10 - Battus belus (Belus Swallowtail)
20 - Caligo memnon (Owl Butterfly)
15 - Catonephele numilia (Numilia)
20 - Consul fabius (Tiger Leafwing)
15 - Dryadula phaetusa (Banded Orange Heliconian)
20 - Heliconius erato (Small Postman)
15 - Lycorea cleobaea (Large Tiger)
70 - Morpho peleides (Blue Morpho)
10 - Morpho polyphemus (White Morpho)
10 - Myselia cyaniris (Blue Wave Butterfly)
10 - Myscelia ethusa (Royal Blue Butterfly)
15 - Prepona omphale=archeoprepona omphale (Blue Belly-Button)
25 - Siderone nemesis (Red-striped Leafwing)
25 - Tithorea harmonia (Harmonia Tigerwing)

Total = 280


10 - Athyma perius (Common Sergeant)
10 - Catopsilia scylla (Orange Emigrant)
30 - Cethosia cyane (Leopard Lacewing)
10 - Charaxes cithaeron (Blue-spotted Charexes)
10 - Chilasa clytia (Common Mime)
10 - Euphaedra neophron (Gold-banded Forester)
10 - Euploea core (Common Crow)
10 - Graphium agamemnon (Tailed Jay)
30 - Graphium antheus (Large Striped Swordtail)
10 - Graphium colonna (Mamba Swordtail)
15 - Hypolimnas bolina (Great Eggfly)
08 - Idea leuconoe (Paper Kite)
10 - Junonia atlites (Gray Pansy)
09 - Papilio constantinus (Constantines's Swallowtail)
10 - Papilio lowii (Sunset Swallowtail)
20 - Papilio nireus (Blue-banded Swallowtail)
10 - Papilio polytes (Polite Swallowtail)
20 - Papilio rumanzovia (Crimson Swallowtail)
10 - Tirumala limniace (Blue Tiger)

Total = 252

Grand Total = 532

“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!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Help Us Name Our Snake

While you read about our new corn snake’s adventures, you may have been asking yourself whether our new corn snake has a name, or whether we just call him ‘hey, you’.

The answer is, we have several naming ideas but not everyone agrees on which one is best.

Choice # 1 – Nacho.

Why we like it: The scientific name for corn, Zea mays, already inspired the names for our corn snakes, Zea and Maizy. We were going to stop with the food names but Tillamook came with his name, and his rich orange color makes it very appropriate. With corn and cheese names already spoken for, Nacho seemed like a natural to combine the two themes.

Problems with it: It makes some staff members hungry. Since it is never appropriate to eat while handling animals, we just have to stay hungry till our work is finished. Is Nacho too corny a name? Too cheesy?

Choice # 2 - Checkers

Why we like it: If you look closely at the underside of the corn snake, you notice perfect little black and white squares that form a perfect checkerboard motif. This pattern is quite unlike the markings on our other two snakes.

Problems with it: There is already a famous historical dog who was named Checkers. For some, the connection is too strong to use the name on a different species.

What do you think? Please give us your comments on the names – or your write-in candidate not on our list. Don’t let our little corn snake go nameless.

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Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Ballad of Rachael Shoulder

Thanksgiving in Seattle was preceded by a crippling snowstorm, causing all sorts of logistical problems for Life Sciences department staff who couldn’t get in to work. Fortunately, manager Sarah Moore had conducted an Inclement Weather Planning training just the week before. One of the trainees, Rachael Shoulder, lives near Pacific Science Center and was available to put her skills to work. Rachael’s heroic efforts inspired Sarah to write an epic “Thank You” reproduced below.

“Rachael waded in through the snow to help Adrian with his tasks. She was also in two Saturdays in a row to help Maida with the super-cleaning process for the naked mole-rats. Rachael, you are either at the top of the list of folks to call when we are in need or you’ve done so much that you are ready for a break. You will still be forever on our honor roll.” – Sarah Moore

The Ballad of Rachael Shoulder

The wind was blowing, the sky was snowing
The air was constantly growing colder
Most people were stranded in their homes
Except for Rachael Shoulder!

She put on snow boots and a thick coat
And walked outside – few were ever bolder
She went to work and she lent a hand
And she made our day, that Rachael Shoulder

She knew there were pupae to be pinned
She knew – for Adrian had told her –
That without her help it could not get done
But it did get done, thanks to Rachael Shoulder

When Maida had some tubes to clean
And a mole-rat mom needing someone to hold her
She didn’t panic or run and scream
She knew she could count on Rachael Shoulder.

Our whole department sings your praise
So I’ll say it before I get any older
We think you’re the best and we give our thanks
You’re our hero, Rachael Shoulder.

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Friday, December 3, 2010

Fresh Sheet – December 3, 2010

A big shipment of pupae arrived this week with over half of them from the Genus Heliconius. Visit these New World butterflies at our Tropical Butterfly House and see if you can recognize the many different species.

Costa Rica

11 - Archeoprepona demophon (One-spotted Prepona)
06 - Battus polydamas (Polydamus Swallowtail)
08 - Caligo memnon (Owl Butterfly)
22 - Catonephele numilia (Numilia)
10 - Consul fabius (Tiger Leafwing)
38 - Danaus plexippus (The Monarch)
36 - Dryadula phaetusa (Banded Orange Heliconian)
21 - Dryas iulia (Julia Longwing)
10 - Eueides aliphera (Aliphera Longwing)
05 - Greta oto (Glasswing)
31 - Heliconius charitonius (Zebra Longwing)
02 - Heliconius clysonymus (Clysonymus Longwing)
28 - Heliconius cydno (Cydno Longwing)
37 - Heliconius doris (Doris Longwing)
58 - Heliconius hecale (Tiger Longwing)
41 - Heliconius ismenius (Ismenius Longwing)
15 - Heliconius melpomene (Postman)
08 - Heliconius sapho (Sapho Longwing)
10 - Heliconius sara (Sara Longwing)
22 - Heraclides anchisiades (Ruby-spotted Swallowtail)
15 - Hypna clytemnestra (Silver-studded Leafwing)
28 - Morpho peleides (Blue Morpho)
08 - Papilio cresphontes (Giant Swallowtail)
34 - Siproeta stelenes(Malachite)
15 - Tithorea tarricina(Cream-Spotted Clearwing)

Total = 519

“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!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Atlas Moths

While the weather outside is … err … frightful this time of year, the Tropical Butterfly House is a balmy, relaxing sanctuary. Not only is it warm and toasty, we have just released four gorgeous atlas moths. This is very exciting for a number of reasons:

1. We haven’t had atlas moths at PSC in over two years! If you’ve never seen them before, it’s a must. If it’s been awhile, they’re probably even more beautiful than you remember.

2. Because they don’t have any mouthparts, atlas moths only live for about three to four days. We still have about four more chrysalides waiting to emerge. But any way you slice it, they won’t be here long.

3. Atlas moths have the largest wingspan of any insect - They each have a wingspan of about 6-7 inches.

The moths have been placed on larger trees where they can’t be touched. They may move at any time but they’re nocturnal so they shouldn’t go far unless provoked. Enjoy hunting for them when you visit, or ask a Science Interpreter for help.

PS Bring your camera! They’re very photogenic!

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