Saturday, April 28, 2012

Fresh Sheet – April 28, 2012

Five more Ornithoptera priamus (New Guinea Birdwing) pupae join this week’s shipments of chrysalides from all over the world. Big and small - we love them all!

El Salvador

15 - Battus belus (Belus Swallowtail)
20 - Caligo memnon (Owl Butterfly)
20 - Catonephele numilia (Numilia)
10 - Consul fabius (Tiger Leafwing)
05 - Heliconius erato (Small Postman)
10 - Heliconius hecale (Tiger Longwing)
20 - Lycorea cleobaea (Large Tiger)
60 - Morpho peleides (Blue Morpho)
30 - Morpho polyphemus (White Morpho)
15 - Myselia cyaniris (Blue Wave Butterfly)
25 - Myscelia ethusa (Royal Blue Butterfly)
10 - Papilio cresphontes (Giant Swallowtail)
10 - Papilio erostratus (Dusky Swallowtail)
25 - Parides montezuma (Montezuma Cattleheart)
20 - Parides photinus (Queen of Hearts)
15 - Archeoprepona demophon (One-spotted Prepona)
11 - Tithorea harmonia (Harmonia Tigerwing)

Total = 321


20 - Athyma perius (Common Sergeant) THAILAND
10 - Catopsilia scylla (Orange Emigrant) MALAYSIA
10 - Cethosia cyane (Leopard Lacewing) THAILAND
21 - Charaxes brutus (White-barred Charaxes) KENYA
20 - Charaxes castor (Giant Charaxes) KENYA
20 - Charaxes cithaeron (Blue-spotted Charexes) USA
30 - Chilasa clytia (Common Mime) THAILAND
10 - Doleschalia bisaltide (Autumn Leaf) PHILIPPINES
10 - Euphaedra neophron (Gold-banded Forester) KENYA
10 - Hypolimnas bolina (Blue moon) PHILIPPINES
10 - Idea leuconoe (Paper Kite) PHILIPPINES
05 - Ornithoptera priamus (New Guinea Birdwing) USA
04 - Papilio demodocus (Orchard Swallowtail) KENYA
30 - Papilio lowii (Sunset Swallowtail) PHILIPPINES
10 - Papilio palinurus (Banded Peacock) PHILIPPINES
20 - Papilio polytes (Polite Swallowtail) PHILIPPINES
10 - Papilio rumanzovia (Crimson Swallowtail) PHILIPPINES

Total = 250

Grand Total = 571

“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, April 25, 2012

The Big Move

If you've walked through Pacific Science Center's Insect Village lately you probably noticed a fenced off area with big holes in the walls. It's the start of some major remodeling that involves some of our animals, many of which will soon be moved.

In a few months, Pacific Science Center's Building 2 will house an exciting new exhibit, Professor Wellbody's Academy of Health and Wellness. While staff and community members are excited, readers of this blog may be wondering, "where will the animals go?" Don't worry! They are not going far, just around the corner into the Ackerley Family Gallery that also houses our Insect Village.

If you are looking for your buddies the naked mole-rats, snakes, axolotls or Lydia the leopard gecko, you will now have a slightly different set of landmarks to follow. As you head into Building 2 from the Dinosaurs, take a left at Science on a Sphere and head into the Insect Village. Go past the giant mantis, through the Insect Village, and then in the doorway to the right of the giant scorpion. You've found their new home.

To prepare for this move, we've made some modifications behind the scenes as well. First and foremost, we had to cut a new door into the wall that separates Building 2 from the Ackerley Family Gallery. This wall was the former exterior of Pacific Science Center and is made of concrete composite. We worked closely with a structural engineer to preserve the integrity of the wall, which meant the door was a little smaller than we hoped for.

Our animals have high demands for power. All are cold blooded, and develop health and behavior problems if not kept at the correct temperatures. The cages require heat lamps and under cage heat, as well as pumps, aeration, humidifiers, lighting and air fans. A new power circuit was added to ensure continuous climate control. 

While we know we will need to watch them closely in their new surroundings, we believe the animals will like this location better. There will be natural light, better sound control, and a more enclosed area which they should find calming. We are prepared to make some adjustments, but anticipate a smooth transition for the animals.
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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Manduca: Part Two

Back in September 2011, we did a blog story about raising Tobacco hornworm (Manduca sexta) caterpillars. The stunning blue caterpillars were fun to raise and did well for us. When they pupated, we carefully placed each one in a hollow drilled into a piece of hardwood, which simulates their natural instinct to burrow into a small place during metamorphosis. A few weeks later, we enjoyed the one moth that emerged from pupation.

The other pupae were less forthcoming. After a month of waiting, we moved the pupae out of their dedicated exhibit cage. There are few sights more boring than a cage with a piece of wood in it, and no evidence of life. Instead, the pupae were moved in with the stick insects, where they spent the winter and the first part of spring.

But on April 16, we came in to a little surprise. One of the moths had emerged at last! The change in day length probably stimulated her to complete her transition from pupa to adult. Many insects overwinter in the pupa stage, as a way to avoid the worst temperature drops and the lack of food the cold months bring. The ability to suspend development until the correct environmental cues occur is called diapause. For those who enjoy scholarly articles, we include the following link, one of many for this species whose diapause has been closely studied.

Our new moth is now flying in the Tropical Butterfly House. Though neither tropical nor a butterfly, she seems to enjoy the warmth, space, and abundant flowers. Perhaps other Manduca moths emerging from diapause will soon join her.
Read more!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Fresh Sheet – April 21, 2012

A new Blue Morpho, Morpho granadensis, makes it’s appearance this week in the Tropical Butterfly House. How different is it? Come see for yourself!

Costa Rica

17 - Anartia fatima (Banded Peacock)
12 - Anteos chlorinde (White Angled Sulphur)
12 - Battus polydamas (Polydamus Swallowtail)
04 - Brassolis isthmia (Small-spotted Owl)
08 - Caligo atreus (Yellow-Edged Giant-Owl)
08 - Caligo eurilochus (Forest Giant Owl)
10 - Caligo memnon (Owl Butterfly)
40 - Danaus plexippus (The Monarch)
06 - Dryas iulia (Julia Longwing)
33 - Dryadula phaetusa (Banded Orange Heliconian)
08 - Eryphanis polyxena (Purple Mort Bleu Owl)
10 - Eueides isabella (Isabella’s Longwing)
08 - Hamadryas amphinome (Red Calico)
04 - Hamadryas arinome (Blue Calico)
13 - Hamadryas feronia (Variable Calico)
13 - Hamadryas laodamia (Starry Night Calico)
15 - Heliconius charitonius (Zebra Longwing)
08 - Heliconius clysonymus (Clysonymus Longwing)
17 - Heliconius cydno (Cydno Longwing)
10 - Heliconius doris (Doris Longwing)
10 - Heliconius erato (Small Postman)
32 - Heliconius hecale (Tiger Longwing)
08 - Heliconius hewitsoni (Hewitson’s Longwing)
24 - Heliconius ismenius (Ismenius Longwing)
19 - Heliconius melpomene (Postman)
18 - Hypna clytemnestra (Silver-studded Leafwing)
08 - Morpho granadensis (Granadensis Blue Morpho)
40 - Morpho peleides (Blue Morpho)
10 - Myselia cyaniris (Blue Wave Butterfly)
20 - Papilio anchisiades (Ruby-spotted Swallowtail)
08 - Papilio cresphontes (Giant Swallowtail)
12 - Papilio polyxenes (Black Swallowtail)
09 - Parides iphidamas (Transandean Cattleheart)
09 - Philaethria dido (Scarce Bamboo Page)
03 - Siproeta epaphus (Rusty-tipped Page)
18 - 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!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Our Latest Tide Pool Collecting Trip

Last week Cari Garand, Adrian Eng, and Portia Riedel went on a tide pool collection trip at The Cove in Normandy Park outside of Seattle.

Here’s what they collected:

Moonsnail egg cases
Hermit Crabs
Mossy/Hairy Chitons
Kelp Crabs
Mottled Sea Stars
Ochre Star

Shaggy Mouse Nudibranch
Shells with barnacles
Misc. Juvenile Crab
Plumose Anemones

Brooding Anemones (and their brood)
Aggregating Anemones

Spotted Aglajas
Sand dollar
Heart cockle

We expect to keep the sea stars, anemones and hermit crabs for months or years to come. But snail egg cases are fragile and will probably only last a few days before breaking apart. To see our new collection in all its glory, hurry down!
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Monday, April 16, 2012

A Spider Sheds

Animal caretakers Adrian Eng and Cari Garand had the good luck to be present for an unexpected and fascinating view of a spider shedding her skin. But if it took luck to be present, it took patience, understanding and care to observe this phenomenon from beginning to end without disturbing the spider.

This week we got a chance to witness one of our garden orb weavers shed its carapace.

When we spotted our garden orb weaver shedding she hung from her own spun web with all eight of her legs gripping on silk. The top cap of her thorax had peeled back and her abdomen began to pull away from her old skin. She retreated from her exoskeleton by pulling downwards while her old skin remained hanging from the web. She looked very uncomfortable and as she pulled away and her legs seem twitch as she struggled to escape. As soon as she pulled completely away from her old skin she righted herself up. After shedding, her skin was soft and weak. Her legs almost dangled like an octopus out of water. As more time went by I notice her skin darkening and begin to harden. Within the day she was back to looking normal.

Molting is a dangerous time, but our spider needed to do it in order to grow. Spiders and other arthropods do not have an internal skeleton like mammals, fishes, reptiles and birds. Instead, spiders have an outside covering (exoskeleton) made up of layers of carbohydrates and proteins. Because their exoskeleton is hard and durable, it does not grow. Spiders need to go through a series of molts until they are adults. During their molt period they are susceptible to attack and need time to rest and grow. If they do not escape from their old exoskeleton in time they risk being trapped and subsequently die.

-Adrian Eng
-Cari Garand, photos

Congratulations to our spider on her successful shed, and to our staff members for noticing and documenting this amazing transition.
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Saturday, April 14, 2012

Fresh Sheet – April14, 2012

Six hundred nineteen pupae arrive this week. Stop by the Tropical Butterfly House and check them out!


20 - Battus polydamas (Polydamus Swallowtail)
10 - Heraclides thoas (Thoas Swallowtail)
40 - Heraclides anchisiades (Ruby-spotted Swallowtail)
05 - Papilio androgeus (Androgeus Swallowtail)
10 - Heliconius erato (Small Postman)
40 - Dryas iulia (Julia Longwing)
40 - Catonephele orites (Orange-banded Shoemaker)
40 - Anartia amathea (Scarlet Peacock)
40 - Caligo memnon (Owl Butterfly)
10 - Mechanitis polymnia (Polymnia Tigerwing)
15 - Tithorea harmonia (Harmonia Tigerwing)

Total = 270

El Salvador

25 - Battus belus (Belus Swallowtail)
25 - Caligo memnon (Owl Butterfly)
25 - Catonephele numilia (Numilia)
08 - Consul fabius (Tiger Leafwing)
10 - Dryadula phaetusa (Banded Orange Heliconian)
10 - Heliconius charitonius (Zebra Longwing)
06 - Heliconius erato (Small Postman)
15 - Heliconius hecale (Tiger Longwing)
10 - Heliconius hortense (Mountain Longwing)
60 - Morpho peleides (Blue Morpho)
30 - Morpho polyphemus (White Morpho)
10 - Myselia cyaniris (Blue Wave Butterfly)
30 - Myscelia ethusa (Royal Blue Butterfly)
20 - Papilio cresphontes (Giant Swallowtail)
10 - Papilio pilumnus (Three-tailed Swallowtail)
20 - Papilio torquatus (Band-gapped Swallowtail)
20 - Archeoprepona demophon (One-spotted Prepona)
15 - Prepona omphale (Blue Belly-Button)

Total = 349

Grand Total = 619

“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, April 7, 2012

Fresh Sheet – April 7, 2012

Is this the week that those gorgeous Ornithoptera priamus (New Guinea Birdwing) butterflies emerge? Stop by and see for yourself!


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

Total = 548

“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!