Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Local Lepidoptera

With spring in full glory, we will start seeing butterflies and moths outside as well as in our Tropical Butterfly House. In fact, just the other day Animal Caretaker Chris Russell found a gorgeous specimen of the Polyphemus moth (Antheraea polyphemus) right here on Pacific Science Center's campus.

The Polyphemus moth may seem too big (4”- 6”) and fancy to be native here, but the Pacific Northwest (as well as most of the United States ) is its home. Although we’ve had Polyphemus moths in our Tropical Butterfly House in the past, Chris quickly identified the specimen, took a photograph and then released it.

Look around your garden and you may also spot Western Tiger Swallowtail and Red Admiral butterflies.
 These are the species that Animal Care gets the most calls about from concerned folks who are worried that a butterfly escaped from our exhibit. We appreciate the public’s alertness and attention to possible escapees. In fact, part of why we keep our tropical butterfly species strictly contained is to protect these lovely native species.

So if you see moths and butterflies when you are out and about the spring and summer, just say “Hi” and let them fly!

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