Saturday, January 26, 2013

Fresh Sheet – January 26, 2013

Large Owls are stand-outs but if you like Hypna clytemnestra (Jazzy Leafwing), this is the week to visit our Tropical Butterfly House. These beauties will be everywhere!

Costa Rica

31 - Archeoprepona demophon (One-spotted Prepona)
06 - Caligo atreus (Yellow-Edged Giant-Owl)
32 - Caligo eurilochus (Forest Giant Owl)
23 - Catonephele numilia (Numilia)
12 - Dryas iulia (Julia Longwing)
52 - Greta oto (Glasswing)
17 - Heliconius doris (Doris Longwing)
16 - Heliconius erato (Small Postman)
12 - Heliconius hecale (Tiger Longwing)
56 - Heliconius melpomene (Postman)
18 - Heliconius sapho (Sapho Longwing)
98 - Hypna clytemnestra (Jazzy Leafwing)
40 - Morpho peleides (Blue Morpho)
60 - Papillio anchisiades (Ruby-spotted Swallowtail)
06 - Parides iphidamas (Transandean Cattleheart)

Total = 479

“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, January 22, 2013

Morpho Population Crash

The life of a butterfly farmer sounds idyllic. Most people who do it are pursuing a deep interest in either the insects themselves, or in preserving their habitat. Most butterfly farmers love their work.

But in the end, butterfly farming, like all farming, is an unpredictable and risky undertaking. Many things can go wrong. However well prepared butterfly farmers may be, they can still experience devastating crop failure.

We recently heard from one of the vendors of our magnificent Blue Morpho butterflies (Morpho peliedes). This vendor had to start the year with one of the most difficult decisions of their 22 years of existence, but also one of a most necessary nature: Eliminating their entire blue morpho breeding stock, including adults, pupae, eggs and young.

Their breeding stock was showing a large group-genetic malformation. We received one shipment before the problem was identified. We saw some of the butterflies that exhibited this genetic condition - which consists of butterflies emerging with curly wings and completely unable to fly.

Although this was not the first time we’ve had a group of pupae mysteriously fail to develop, and as much as it saddened us to lose them, it is reassuring to know that there was an underlying explanation for the loss. While the problem is dealt with, we will not be getting Blue Morphos from this source – probably for the next five weeks or so.

We are reminded that the butterflies we show in our exhibit are only part of a longer and more complicated process. They are bred from butterflies in their countries of origin, often with the intention of replenishing wild populations that have been lost to habitat destruction or careless collection practices. Great care must be taken in returning species to the wild, not to introduce genetic anomalies, transmit disease, or otherwise harm any existing wild specimens.

For Pacific Science Center’s exhibit, a genetic problem causes a temporary loss of a species. It is an inconvenience. For a wild population, it could cause a crash, and be a real disaster. Fortunately, our butterfly breeders prioritize the needs of butterflies in the wild above the benefits of being able to sell more butterflies. Sacrifices in the short term means only good things for our butterfly populations in the long term. Which is fine. But this means we will see fewer Morphos for a few weeks.

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Saturday, January 19, 2013

Fresh Sheet – January 19, 2013

Butterfly pupae from El Salvador and Suriname are now emerging in the warm climate of our Tropical Butterfly House emerging window. Stop by and enjoy the view!

El Salvador

15 - Archeoprepona demophoon (Hubner’s Prepona)
25 - Battus belus (Belus Swallowtail)
20 - Caligo memnon (Owl Butterfly)
04 - Dryadula phaetusa (Banded Orange Heliconian)
08 - Heliconius charitonius (Zebra Longwing)
08 - Heliconius hortense (Mountain Longwing)
07 - Heliconius ismenius (Ismenius Longwing)
10 - Lycorea cleobaea (Large Tiger)
15 - Morpho peleides (Blue Morpho)
20 - Morpho polyphemus (White Morpho)
25 - Myscelia ethusa (Royal Blue Butterfly)
20 - Papilio androgeus (Queen Page)
20 - Papilio cresphontes (Giant Swallowtail)
10 - Parides iphidamas (Transandean Cattleheart)
10 - Prepona omphale (Blue Belly-Button)
12 - Tithorea harmonia (Harmonia Tigerwing)

Total = 229


30 - Parides sesostris (Emerald-patched Cattleheart)
20 - Heraclides anchisiades (Ruby-spotted Swallowtail)
25 - Heliconius melpomene (Postman)
15 - Heliconius hecale (Tiger Longwing)
30 - Dryas iulia (Julia Longwing)
30 - Catonephele orites (Orange-banded Shoemaker)
25 - Anartia amathea (Scarlet Peacock)
25 - Archeoprepona demophoon (Hubner’s Prepona)
25 - Hypna clytemnestra (Jazzy Leafwing)
30 - Caligo memnon (Owl Butterfly)
15 - Tithorea harmonia (Harmonia Tigerwing)

Total = 270

Grand Total = 499

“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, January 11, 2013

Hooray for Our Alternative Servers!

Life in the world of Animal Care is wonderful, but it can also be unpredictable. When the animals all do what they are supposed to do, a day runs very smoothly. But when some things change, the day can bring a lot of challenges!

The Life Sciences team is trained to deal with all sorts of unexpected situations, but there are times when a little extra help makes the day much happier for both the people and animals.

Today, we would like to take a moment and thank some of those people who have provided "extra help": the Alternative Servers.
Pacific Science Center has a program for full-time staff called Alternative Service. This policy requires staff members to work 40 hours per year in a department other than their own.

The work can be anything from helping campers steer a canoe over at the Mercer Slough, greeting visitors outside the gates on an especially busy day, or even stuffing envelopes for our Development team.

The Alternative Service program allows our staff to become more familiar with the various needs and responsibilities of our co-workers, and also allows departments to have a few more hands when they are needed.

All the craziness that comes along with holidays also means that sometimes the mail doesn’t always do what is expected. When dealing with live butterfly pupae in that mail, a couple of days in delivery is a big difference. And when pupae arrive unexpectedly, those helping hands are invaluable!

We in Animal Care would like to say “thank you” to all of those Alternative Servers who have taken an hour or two from their own schedules and given your time to us and to our animals.

So to our recent heroines, Jenn Bentz (IMAX® and Theater), Amy Collins (Executive Office), Nicolette Neuman (Science On Wheels), Jenn Purnell (Science Interpretation), and Portia Riedel (Discovery Corps): Thank you. You’re wonderful!

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Saturday, January 5, 2013

Fresh Sheet – January 5, 2013

The first 544 pupae of the new year are now hanging in the Emerging Window. Come visit and watch them emerge!

El Salvador

25 - Anaea eurypyle (Pointed Leafwing)
25 - Battus belus (Belus Swallowtail)
25 - Caligo memnon (Owl Butterfly)
20- Heliconius hortense (Mountain Longwing)
80 - Morpho peleides (Blue Morpho)
15 - Morpho polyphemus (White Morpho)
30 - Papilio androgeus (Queen Page)
30 - Papilio cresphontes (Giant Swallowtail)
14 - Papilio torquatus (Band-gapped Swallowtail)
25 - Archeoprepona demophon (One-spotted Prepona)
05 - Prepona omphale (Blue Belly-Button)

Total = 294


16 - Attacus atlas (Atlas Moth)
10 - Charaxes brutus (White-barred Charaxes)
10 - Charaxes cithaeron (Blue-spotted Charaxes)
10 - Charaxes varanes (Pearl Charexes)
10 - Chilasa clytia (Common Mime)
02 - Graphium angolanus (Angola White Lady)
12 - Graphium antheus (Large Striped Swordtail)
10 - Hypolimnas bolina (Blue moon)
30 - Papilio memnon (Great Memnon)
30 - Papilio nireus (Blue-banded Swallowtail)
30 - Papilio ophidicephalus (Emperor Swallowtail)
30 - Papilio polytes (Polite Swallowtail)

Total = 250

Grand Total = 544

“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, January 2, 2013

Rosie Sheds!

Happy New Year! The new year is all about fresh starts and our Chilean Rose Tarantula (Grammostola rosea) is certainly starting the new year right. She is getting rid of her old, tired exoskeleton and getting ready for life in her brand new skin!

While tarantulas will molt frequently when they are young to be able to grow larger, adult tarantulas will only molt once a year or less. They do so to help repair damage or replace lost urticating hairs (those irritating hairs all over their body). While shedding, their new exoskeleton is quite soft and they are more vulnerable. After a little time and oxygen exposure, it hardens up to a fresh, healthy layer of protection.

Since getting a whole new outside takes a lot of energy, Rosie hasn’t been feeling up to eating recently. Now that she’s shed, she can finish up her New Year celebrations with a big, fattening cricket!
Hope your New Year was as exciting and fun as Rosie’s!

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