Saturday, June 30, 2012

Fresh Sheet – June 30, 2012

This week’s pupae shipment begins with Sunsets (Papilio lowii) and ends with Blue Moons (Hypolimnas bolina ). See them for yourself!


69 - Papilio lowii (Sunset Swallowtail)
25 - Papilio palinurus (Banded Peacock)
56 - Idea leuconoe (Paper Kite)
20 - Pachliopta kotzeboea (Pink Rose)
50 - Doleschalia bisaltide (Autumn Leaf)
80 - Parthenos sylvia philippensis (The Clipper)
06 - Papilio polytes (Polite Swallowtail)
19 - Cethosia biblis (Red Lacewing)
80 - Hypolimnas bolina (Blue moon)

Total = 405

“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, June 23, 2012

Fresh Sheet – June 23, 2012

This week’s pupae shipments include several rarely view butterflies at the Tropical Butterfly House. We have asterisked them on the lists below. Do you see any other unique species?

El Salvador

10 - Anaea nobilis (Tropical Noble Leafwing)*
15 - Battus belus (Belus Swallowtail)
10 - Caligo memnon (Owl Butterfly)
20 - Catonephele numilia (Numilia)
20 - Consul fabius (Tiger Leafwing)
08 - Heliconius erato (Small Postman)
20 - Heliconius hecale (Tiger Longwing)
10 - Heliconius ismenius (Ismenius Longwing)
15 - Lycorea cleobaea (Large Tiger)
60 - Morpho peleides (Blue Morpho)
40 - Morpho polyphemus (White Morpho)
20 - Myscelia ethusa (Royal Blue Butterfly)
20 - Papilio pilumnus (Three-tailed Swallowtail)
12 - Parides photinus (Queen of Hearts)
20 - Archeoprepona demophon (One-spotted Prepona)
14 - Prepona omphale (Blue Belly-Button)
15 - Tithorea harmonia (Harmonia Tigerwing)

Total = 329

10 - Athyma perius (Common Sergeant) THAILAND
10 - Cethosia biblis (Red Lacewing) PHILIPPINES
03 - Cethosia cyane (Leopard Lacewing) MALAYSIA
10 - Charaxes brutus (White-barred Charaxes) KENYA
10 - Charaxes castor (Giant Charaxes) KENYA
10 - Charaxes cithaeron (Blue-spotted Charaxes) KENYA
10 - Charaxes lasti (Silver Striped Charaxes) KENYA
10 - Charaxes varanes (Pearl Charexes) KENYA
02 - Charaxes violetta (Violet-spotted Emperor) KENYA
10 - Doleschalia bisaltide (Autumn Leaf) PHILIPPINES
05 - Graphium angolanus (Angola White Lady)* KENYA
10 - Graphium antheus (Large Striped Swordtail) KENYA
10 - Graphium colonna (Mamba Swordtail) KENYA
10 - Graphium policenes (Small Striped Swordtail)* KENYA
10 - Hypolimnas bolina (Blue moon) PHILIPPINES
10 - Idea leuconoe (Paper Kite) PHILIPPINES
10 - Pachliopta kotzeboea (Pink Rose) PHILIPPINES
03 - Papilio constantinus (Constantines's Swallowtail) KENYA
10 - Papilio demodocus (Orchard Swallowtail) KENYA
30 - Papilio lowii (Sunset Swallowtail) PHILIPPINES
07 - Papilio memnon (Great Memnon) THAILAND
20 - Papilio palinurus (Banded Peacock) PHILIPPINES
30 - Papilio polytes (Polite Swallowtail) PHILIPPINES
10 - Tirumala limniace (Blue Tiger) THAILAND
20 - Troides rhadamantus plateni (Platen’s Birdwing) PHILIPPINES

Total = 280

Grand Total = 609

“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, June 20, 2012

Black Widows Are Back

Several guests have lamented the absence of black widow spiders on exhibit. For those who miss them, we have great news. The spiders are back, and bigger, shinier and better than ever.

For years, Pacific Science Center has exhibited these lovely but venomous arachnids. But although they are showy and colorful, there are several challenges to putting them on display.

Because they are naturally shy, Black widows like small, closed in spaces to build their web, settle down, and hide. To increase the chances of a spider being visible at any time, we split the enclosure into thirds and show three spiders. Clear dividers keep them from getting into each other’s area, which could result in one of them making a meal of another.

Black widow spider venom is also notoriously dangerous to humans. There are in fact few serious incidents involving black widow bites, but that is partly because the spiders go out of their way to avoid people. We wanted to help them out with that in every way we could! So in addition to being locked, their enclosure has an extra level of security, an inner lid with a small opening to let us feed and clean.

Like all spiders, the black widow is a carnivore. She catches prey in her web, immobilizes it with silk, delivers a paralyzing bite, and then continues to wrap it with more silk until it is entirely enclosed. She then suspends the food from a strand of web and climbs down to feed.

Black widow silk is extremely strong, and their webs are irregular. This makes cleaning up the cage a real challenge. The bodies of prey get stuck in silk and trying to pull them out disturbs the web and brings out an understandably upset, and nastily venomous, spider.

Adult black widows can live for up to a year. A few months ago, we had a rare situation where all three chambers of the cage were vacant – perfect opportunity to take it apart, remove all the old cricket parts, clean out the silk and start over. But while we had three perfectly presentable spiders, something held us back.

And then came “Big Bertha”. This spider was received by a grocery store, in a shipment of produce. She is the biggest, most splendid specimen we had ever seen, and seemed made to go front and center in the display. She seems to know how fantastic she is, and has built her web right out in the open. Please come take a look.

So we tend to let the cage go, and periodically clean the whole thing.

While on the topic of black widows, there are a few very common beliefs about them that are not entirely, or even mostly true. Black widows are famous for eating their mates. In fact, this is uncommon under normal circumstances. Many male black widows not only survive mating, but live near the female and eat some of the prey captured in her web. Nor is the bite of the black widow usually fatal to humans. But DO NOT test this, as a bite is said to be extremely painful and can kill under some circumstances. Only the adult female’s bite is a threat to people, but males and young are venomous to their prey.

Read more!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Mole Rat Moves

Last month, the naked mole rats were bivouacked in an unused classroom at Pacific Science Center while their new lodgings were being constructed. During that time, Animal Care Lead Brianna Todd took advantage of the situation to record some mole rat activity.

The following video shows of some of the mole rats’ typical behaviors through a tube section in their colony. Are you are as amused as Brianna was at their movements?

Incidentally, the clicking sound you hear on the video is the chewing of the tube walls by other mole rats in the colony.

Read about some of the fascinating research by done on naked mole rats in this article from The Scientist magazine’s June issue:

Read more!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Fresh Sheet – June 16, 2012

This week’s shipment has 504 pupae among 38 species. See if your favorite is on the list!

Costa Rica
12 - Anteos chlorinde (White Angled Sulphur)
12 - Battus polydamas (Polydamus Swallowtail)
12 - Caligo atreus (Yellow-Edged Giant-Owl)
17 - Caligo eurilochus (Forest Giant Owl)
11 - Caligo memnon (Owl Butterfly)
15 - Catonephele numilia (Numilia)
08 - Consul fabius (Tiger Leafwing)
22 - Danaus plexippus (The Monarch)
13 - Dryadula phaetusa (Banded Orange Heliconian)
10 - Dryas iulia (Julia Longwing)
08 - Eryphanis polyxena (Purple Mort Bleu Owl)
12 - Eueudes isabella (Isabella’s Longwing)
21 - Hamadryas amphinome (Red Calico)
08 - Hamadryas feronia (Variable Calico)
12 - Hamadryas laodamia (Starry Calico)
11 - Heliconius charitonius (Zebra Longwing)
19 - Heliconius cydno (Cydno Longwing)
22 - Heliconius doris (Doris Longwing)
09 - Heliconius erato (Small Postman)
21 - Heliconius hecale (Tiger Longwing)
08 - Heliconius hewitsoni
19 - Heliconius ismenius (Ismenius Longwing)
05 - Heliconius melpomene (Postman)
08 - Heliconius sapho (Sapho Longwing)
12 - em>Heraclides anchisiades (Ruby-spotted Swallowtail)
08 - Hypna clytemnestra (Silver-studded Leafwing)
40 - Morpho peleides (Blue Morpho)
15 - Myselia cyaniris (Blue Wave Butterfly)
08 - Opsiphanes quiteria (Scalloped Owl)
16 - Papilio cresphontes (Giant Swallowtail)
09 - Papilio polyxenes (Black Swallowtail)
12 - Parides iphidamas (Transandean Cattleheart)
12 - Philaethria dido (Scarce Bamboo Page)
12 - Phoebis philea (Orange Barred Sulfur)
21 - Phoebis sennae (Cloudless Sulphur)
04 - Prepona omphale (Blue Belly-Button)
08 - Siproeta epaphus (Rusty-tipped Page)
12 - Siproeta stelenes (Malachite)

Total = 504

“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!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Meet Ali

All of our readers of course remember how cute Lydia the leopard gecko is - SO CUTE. While Lydia has long maintained her position as cutest thing this side of the Space Needle, there is a new challenger to her title.

Meet Alesek ("al’luhshuk"), whose name means "turtle" in the local Lushootseed language. We call her Ali for short.

Ali is a Western Painted Turtle that came to Pacific Science Center from the Mercer Slough Environmental Education Center in Bellevue. We kept her in a tank behind-the-scenes for a couple of weeks while we prepared her exhibit, and in that short time she has captured the hearts of most of our staff. She is observant, attentive, and comfortable around humans. One day while Lead Animal Caretaker Brianna Todd was checking the temperature of the water with a laser, she noticed Ali chasing the red spot around the tank, trying to eat it for lunch! How cute is that?

Still don't believe that she's SO CUTE? Check out this video of Ali trying to find the perfect spot to rest in her tank.

Western Painted Turtles are one of the most common turtle species in North America. They can be found in most parts of the United States, including Western Washington. Like all turtles, they have a very long life span. Western Painted Turtles have been known to live up to 55 years, and some probably live longer. We don't know exactly how old Ali is, but she is probably not full-grown. At about 4 inches long, she's still on the small side. Adults can range from 4-10 inches.

Come check out Ali, now on exhibit. Her tank is nestled in between the axolotls and the leopard gecko, giving them all ample opportunity to complement each other on their respective cuteness. Who is the winner?

Read more!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Fresh Sheet – June 9, 2012

The emerging window is full at Pacific Science Center. Stop by and check out your favorites!

El Salvador

20 - Battus belus (Belus Swallowtail)
15 - Caligo memnon (Owl Butterfly)
10 - Catonephele numilia (Numilia)
10 - Consul fabius (Tiger Leafwing)
20 - Hamadryas amphinome (Red Calico)
10 - Heliconius erato (Small Postman)
15 - Heliconius hecale (Tiger Longwing)
20 - Lycorea cleobaea (Large Tiger)
50 - Morpho peleides (Blue Morpho)
50 - Morpho polyphemus (White Morpho)
20 - Myscelia ethusa (Royal Blue Butterfly)
10 - Papilio androgeus (Queen Page)
10 - Papilio erostratus (Dusky Swallowtail)
08 - Papilio pilumnus (Three-tailed Swallowtail)
10 - Papilio torquatus (Band-gapped Swallowtail)
10 - Parides iphidamas (Transandean Cattleheart)
20 - Archeoprepona demophon (One-spotted Prepona)
25 - Prepona omphale (Blue Belly-Button)
20 - Tithorea harmonia (Harmonia Tigerwing)

Total = 353


40 - Battus polydamas (Polydamus Swallowtail)
15 - Heraclides thoas (Thoas Swallowtail)
15 - Heraclides anchisiades (Ruby-spotted Swallowtail)
05 - Papilio androgeus (Queen Page)
10 - Heliconius erato (Small Postman)
10 - Heliconius melpomene (Postman)
40 - Dryas iulia (Julia Longwing)
40 - Anartia amathea (Scarlet Peacock)
05 - Hypna clytemnestra (Silver-studded Leafwing)
40 - Caligo memnon (Owl Butterfly)
40 - Mechanitis polymnia (Polymnia Tigerwing)
05 - Tithorea harmonia (Harmonia Tigerwing)
05 - Phoebis sennae (Cloudless Sulphur)

Total = 270

Grand Total = 623

“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, June 2, 2012

Fresh Sheet – June 2, 2012

This week’s shipment is smaller than usual due to the seasonal heavy rains in the Philippines. Nevertheless, their species are lively and beautiful. Come see for yourself!


3 - Papilio rumanzovia (Crimson Swallowtail)
35 - Papilio palinurus (Banded Peacock)
76 - Idea leuconoe (Paper Kite)
09 - Pachliopta kotzeboea (Pink Rose)
22 - Graphium agamemnon (Tailed Jay)
12 - Doleschalia bisaltide (Autumn Leaf)
80 - Parthenos sylvia philippensis (The Clipper)
20 - Papilio polytes (Polite Swallowtail)
11 - Ideopsis juventa (Wood Nymph)
12 - Cethosia biblis (Red Lacewing)
80 - Hypolimnas bolina (Blue moon)

Total = 360

“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!