Thursday, May 31, 2012

Animal Attractions

Have you visited Pacific Science Center recently? Your top priority will probably be visiting King Tut. But if you have a few minutes after exploring this amazing traveling exhibit, come see Queen Galinda, the naked mole-rat, in her new home.

That’s right, the Animal Attractions exhibits are now safely and successfully relocated into a space within the Ackerley Family Gallery, near the entrance to the Tropical Butterfly House. Life Sciences staff report that all the animals – naked mole-rats, snakes, Lydia the leopard gecko and the axolotls all seem to be transitioning well.

Exhibit Coordinator Jamie Klein deserves much of the credit for bringing about this seamless transition. She worked closely with the animal care team to make sure the animals were not impacted by the noise and dust of the move. Jamie planned out the space so that the animals are more visible but still go about their normal activities without stress.

The mole-rats are now close enough that on a quiet day, you can hear the clicking sound of their chewing. The axolotls are more accessible to children’s viewing, and the corn snakes have a wall all to themselves.

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Saturday, May 26, 2012

Fresh Sheet – May 26, 2012

Woo Hoo! Can you say 20 Birdwing butterflies? Cause, because that’s what’s in this shipment - among other stuff. How cool is that?

El Salvador

20 - Battus belus (Belus Swallowtail)
15 - Caligo memnon (Owl Butterfly)
25 - Catonephele numilia (Numilia)
10 - Consul fabius (Tiger Leafwing)
10 - Heliconius charitonius (Zebra Longwing)
16 - Heliconius hecale (Tiger Longwing)
10 - Heliconius hortense (Mountain Longwing)
08 - Heliconius ismenius (Ismenius Longwing)
20 - Lycorea cleobaea (Large Tiger)
60 - Morpho peleides (Blue Morpho)
60 - Morpho polyphemus (White Morpho)
10 - Myselia cyaniris (Blue Wave Butterfly)
15 - Myscelia ethusa (Royal Blue Butterfly)
08 - Papilio androgeus (Androgeus Swallowtail)
20 - Papilio torquatus (Band-gapped Swallowtail)
20 - Prepona demophon (One-spotted Prepona)
30 - Prepona omphale (Blue Belly-Button)
10 - Tithorea harmonia (Harmonia Tigerwing)

Total = 367


10 - Athyma perius (Common Sergeant) THAILAND
10 - Catopsilia pyranthe (Mottled Emigrant) MALAYSIA
10 - Cethosia cyane (Leopard Lacewing) THAILAND
10 - Charaxes brutus (White-barred Charaxes) KENYA
10 - Charaxes candiope (Green-veined Charaxes) KENYA
10 - Charaxes castor (Giant Charaxes) KENYA
10 - Charaxes cithaeron (Blue-spotted Charaxes) KENYA
05 - Charaxes etesipe(Savannah Charaxes) KENYA
10 - Chilasa clytia (Common Mime) THAILAND
09 - Doleschalia bisaltide (Autumn Leaf) PHILIPPINES
10 - Euphaedra neophron (Gold-banded Forester) KENYA
10 - Graphium agamemnon (Tailed Jay) PHILIPPINES
07 - Graphium antheus (Large Striped Swordtail) KENYA
10 - Hypolimnas bolina (Blue moon) PHILIPPINES
10 - Idea leuconoe (Paper Kite) PHILIPPINES
02 - Junonia (Precis) almana (Peacock Pansy) THAILAND
09 - Pachliopta kotzeboea (Pink Rose) PHILIPPINES
10 - Papilio lowii (Sunset Swallowtail) PHILIPPINES
20 - Papilio memnon (Great Memnon) THAILAND
13 - Papilio palinurus (Banded Peacock) PHILIPPINES
20 - Papilio polytes (Polite Swallowtail) PHILIPPINES
10 - Tirumala limniace (Blue Tiger) THAILAND
05 - Tirumala septentrionus (Dark Blue Tiger) MALAYSIA
20 - Troides rhadamantus plateni (Platen’s Birdwing) PHILIPPINES

Total = 250
Grand total = 617

“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, May 19, 2012

Fresh Sheet – May 19, 2012

It must be the season of the Owls and the Calicos in Costa Rica. They sent them and we got them. Come and see them for yourself!

Costa Rica

08 - Agraulis vanilla (Gulf Fritllary)
11 - Anteos chlorinde (White Angled Sulphur)
15 - Battus polydamas (Polydamus Swallowtail)
12 - ≤em>Brassolis isthmia (Small-spotted Owl)
12 - Caligo atreus (Yellow-Edged Giant-Owl)
12 - Caligo eurilochus (Forest Giant Owl)
16 - Caligo memnon (Owl Butterfly)
14 - Catonephele numilia (Numilia)
13 - Danaus plexippus (The Monarch)
20 - Dryadula phaetusa (Banded Orange Heliconian)
27 - Dryas iulia (Julia Longwing)
05 - Eryphanis polyxena (Purple Mort Bleu Owl)
27 - Eueudes isabella (Isabella’s Longwing)
16 - Greta oto (Glasswing)
16 - Hamadryas amphinome (Red Calico)
14 - Hamadryas februa (Gray Calico)
12 - Hamadryas feronia (Variable Calico)
07 - Hamadryas laodamia (Starry Calico)
19 - Heliconius charitonius (Zebra Longwing)
15 - Heliconius erato (Small Postman)
17 - Heliconius hecale (Tiger Longwing)
18 - Heliconius ismenius (Ismenius Longwing)
16 - Heliconius melpomene (Postman)
20 - Heraclides anchisiades (Ruby-spotted Swallowtail)
11 - Hypna clytemnestra (Silver-studded Leafwing)
40 - Morpho peleides (Blue Morpho)
13 - Myselia cyaniris (Blue Wave Butterfly)
07 - Nessaea aglaura (Aglaura Olivewing)
08 - Opsiphanes tamarindi (Tamarind Owl)
12 - Philaethria dido (Scarce Bamboo Page)
13 - Phoebis sennae (Cloudless Sulphur)
07 - Siproeta epaphus (Rusty-tipped Page)
16 - 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!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Our Cast of Characters

Repeat visitors to the insect village sometimes comment that a favorite insect is missing from the live insect display. Or alternatively, they may see something new, even after many visits in the past. Why does our cast of insects change and what can you expect to see on any given day?

There are two groups of arthropods you will almost certainly see on any given day. The first are those that live in breeding colonies. The Brazilian and the Madagascar hissing cockroaches, the different stick insects and the dermestid beetles and mealworms all breed easily in captivity. We keep colonies of all of these insects going all the time. The only time they might come off exhibit is for cleaning, remodeling the cage, or to make room for something more spectacular.

The other tried and true groups are those with extremely long life cycles. Tarantulas, blue death feigning beetles, and scorpions all live for many years in captivity. They are trouble free, easy to care for, and will likely grace our exhibit on almost any day of the year.
Some of our other creatures will be here one day, gone the next. Grasshoppers have notoriously short life spans, and have problematic young – they hop so well their cages are difficult to clean without risking escapes. So we feature mature or sub adult grasshoppers, and do not attempt to breed them in captivity. They do very well in the wild, thank you very much!

Many large, cool beetles have long life cycles, but spend most of that time as grubs, buried in their food material. So while we may or may not have a breeding population, we have found it difficult to create a good display of hidden grubs.

Other species have labor intensive life cycles. Silk moths were very rewarding to look at, but required a time investment that it is not always possible to commit to. When staffing allows, these cuties may come back.

Then there are seasonal species. The bee hive may overwinter, but it is always dicey getting it to, and it will always be small and depleted by spring. Bees are far less active when nectar is unavailable, and it is nearly impossible to guarantee a bustling hive after a long, rainy winter. Our local spider population is also seasonal. The huge spiders you notice in fall will mostly die off in the winter, leaving egg sacs or tiny hatchlings to start the next spring. So while a few species can be featured year round, our most spectacular spider exhibit will always be around October.

One other element at play here is you. We try to notice which bugs attract people most. In some cases, attract may not be the right word – perhaps repel yet fascinate? But we always love additional feedback. What is your favorite character in the insect zoo? What would you love to see that we don’t have? We make no promises, but we do try to keep you happy.

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Saturday, May 12, 2012

Fresh Sheet – May 12, 2012

Come visit our Tropical Butterfly House to watch this week’s 664 pupae emerge. This Monday, you might get into Pacific Science Center for free!


42 - Anartia amathea (Scarlet Peacock)
40 - Battus belus (Belus Swallowtail)
45 - Caligo memnon (Owl Butterfly)
05 - Catonephele orites (Orange-banded Shoemaker)
40 - Dryas iulia (Julia Longwing)
05 - Heliconius melpomene (Postman)
42 - Heraclides anchisiades (Ruby-spotted Swallowtail)
05 - Heraclides thoas (Thoas Swallowtail)
40 - Mechanitis polymnia (Polymnia Tigerwing)
37 - Nessaea aglaura (Aglaura Olivewing)
11 - Tithorea harmonia (Harmonia Tigerwing)

Total = 312

El Salvador

20 - Battus belus (Belus Swallowtail)
10 - Caligo memnon (Owl Butterfly)
25 - Catonephele numilia (Numilia)
10 - Dryadula phaetusa (Banded Orange Heliconian)
20 - Heliconius charitonius (Zebra Longwing)
12 - Heliconius hortense (Mountain Longwing)
25 - Lycorea cleobaea (Large Tiger)
70 - Morpho peleides (Blue Morpho)
25 - Morpho polyphemus (White Morpho)
30 - Myscelia ethusa (Royal Blue Butterfly)
20 - Papilio cresphontes (Giant Swallowtail)
10 - Papilio pilumnus (Three-tailed Swallowtail)
20 - Papilio torquatus (Band-gapped Swallowtail)
10 - Parides photinus (Queen of Hearts)
30 - Archeoprepona demophon (One-spotted Prepona)
15 - Prepona omphale (Blue Belly-Button)

Total = 352

Grand total = 664

“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, May 5, 2012

Fresh Sheet – May 5, 2012

Even with all the exciting moves and transformations now going on in Animal Care, the pupae keep on coming. Stop by and see them for yourself!

10 - Papilio rumanzovia (Crimson Swallowtail)
50 - Papilio palinurus (Banded Peacock)
80 - Papilio lowii (Sunset Swallowtail)
150 - Idea leuconoe (Paper Kite)
17 - Pachliopta kotzeboea (Pink Rose)
13 - Graphium agamemnon (Tailed Jay)
06 - Doleschalia bisaltide (Autumn Leaf)
80 - Parthenos sylvia philippensis (The Clipper)
20 - Papilio polytes (Polite Swallowtail)
30- Cethosia biblis (Red Lacewing)
50 - Hypolimnas bolina (Blue moon)

Total = 506

“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, May 3, 2012

Happy Third Anniversary!

This month PacSciLife celebrates three years of peeking behind the scenes of Pacific Science Center’s Life Science Department. This blog may not be as popular as “The Huffington Post,” “Science Daily,” or even “I Can Has a Cheezburger,” but we’re very happy with our readership and the feedback we receive from you.

Ever wonder which of the past 338 posts have been the most popular?

Take a stroll down Memory Lane and see if your favorite article made the top ten. Here are the most viewed PacSciLife articles of the past three years.

1. Mole Rat Babies
2. Life As a Baby Mole Rat
3. Mole-Rat Pups at One Month
4. A Festivus Miracle!

5. Help Us Name Our Snake
6. Recipe for a Healthy Axolotl Aquarium

7. Bee Bonus
8. Babies!!!
9. Mole-rats Get Inked
10. The Very Hungry Nudibranch

We're also excited to see that we have followers from all around the globe, from as far away as Australia, Russia, Turkey, and India! We hope that all of our blog followers will continue to check in with us, ask questions, leave comments, and pay us a visit if you are ever in Seattle.

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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Gray Kitty and the Cockroaches

Did you know that our Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches do outreach? Aside from those that live in the exhibit tank in the Insect Village, we keep some smaller cages of “celebrity” cockroaches that are for the up close and personal interactions with guests at the Science Center, at birthday parties, special events, Science on Wheels trips and more.

The other day, Discovery Corps Coordinator Portia Riedel needed to bring a pair of handling roaches to a recruiting event off-site. Because she didn’t have time to pick them up in the morning before the event, she brought them home with her the night before. The following series of pictures shows what happened when she introduced her cat, Gray Kitty, to the cockroaches.

As Portia describes it, “She wasn’t in attack mode – she just wanted to love them!

Incidentally, the Discovery Corps program is now accepting applications for Class 28 – starting this summer. Do you know a teen who is interested in science? Application information is here:

Read more!