Saturday, February 22, 2014

Fresh Sheet – February 22, 2014

The warmest place in town is currently flying over a thousand butterflies from four different tropical countries. Stop in and see your favorites. Their colors and patterns will amaze you!

Costa Rica

18 - Archeoprepona demophon (One-spotted Prepona)
49 - Caligo eurilochus (Forest Giant Owl)
28 - Catonephele numilia (Numilia)
07 - Hamadryas amphinome (Red Calico)
05 - Hamadryas februa (Gray Calico)
26 - Hamadryas laodamia (Starry Calico)
30 - Heliconius cydno (Cydno Longwing)
31 - Heliconius doris (Doris Longwing)
09 - Heliconius erato (Small Postman)
54 - Heliconius hecale (Tiger Longwing)
07 - Heliconius ismenius (Ismenius Longwing)
66 - Heliconius melpomene (Postman)
05 - Heliconius sapho (Sapho Longwing)
25 - Morpho peleides (Blue Morpho)
50 - Morpho polyphemus (White Morpho)
62 - Papilio thoas (Thoas Swallowtail)
08 - Parides iphidamas (Transandean Cattleheart)

Total = 480

“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, February 17, 2014

The Dropcam Adventure

On the evening of January 18th, all seemed calm in the world of Pacific Science Center’s naked mole rat colony. Some were happily munching away on their sweet potatoes and the rest were sleeping peacefully in their chambers.

By the next morning, there was a very different situation. The naked mole rats were roaming around in the outer enclosed area of their exhibit space. In the upper story of their exhibit, a security band was no longer securing a tube into its chamber. The mole rats had pushed the tube out of the chamber and climbed out.

Fortunately none of the fugitive mole rats was injured in the process. All the wandering animals received a thorough health check and were returned to their chamber space. The tube was re-secured. Other than Animal Care staff continuing to monitor the mole rat health, this would be the end of the story.

However with the advent of new technology and the far-reaching expanse of the Internet, we now have new ways to understand what is going on in our mole rat colony after hours. Thanks to our Naked Mole Rat Dropcam, we discovered that we have camera viewers around the world - in Finland and Germany to be exact. While most everyone in Seattle was fast asleep, our far away friends were just waking up to the after-hours antics of the naked mole rats. One German viewer wonderfully documented the naked mole rat expedition, noting the time, the number, and the behavior of individuals on their walk-about. Our observer also hypothesized where the breach might be located.

Readers may recall that this is not the first time our mole rats have escaped from the tube system within their enclosure. Each time, we take the information from the breach and try to prevent it from happening again. Now, the Dropcam gives us information that we couldn’t have before. We can go back and view the situation through stored camera footage and learn more about their behaviors. Previously, we could only see the aftermath. The earlier camera footage not only corroborates our viewer’s observations but also helps us solve escape problems going forward.

When trying to prevent the mole rats’ mischief, we look for their motivation to escape. We provide enrichment to entertain them. Part of their enrichment includes a dynamic system of chambers, particularly the second level, which makes for a bigger challenge for Animal Caretakers to secure. We secure chambers with rubber bands on the lids and non-slip mats underneath.

After this last escape, we worked with our exhibits team to refine the tube assembly. A routed groove allows a connection between the PVC joints so strong that even a human can’t break it.

Next, a wider base for our second level chambers should limit the tubes from being jostled loose. And as always, in the event that mole rats escape to the outer enclosure, they still have nowhere to go. That space is locked up tight with the same temperature and humidity as the chambers.

Besides giving us more information about mole rats’ nocturnal behaviors, this experience made us aware of the naked mole rat fans we have around the world. We absolutely loved hearing from our European viewers even if it took an unusual situation for them to share with us. In fact, we love hearing from all our mole rat fans. So please, check out both Naked Mole Rat Cam I and Cam II and share your stories with us. What have you seen our furless friends doing?

Read more!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Fresh Sheet – February 15, 2014

There will be lots of Lepidoptera flying around our Tropical Butterfly House after shipments from Malaysia, El Salvador, and Suriname arrive this week. Bring your family, bring your friends, and bring your camera!


25 - Athyma perius (Common Sergeant)
10 - Catopsilia pyranthe (Mottled Emigrant)
45 - Catopsilia scylla (Orange Emigrant)
50 - Cethosia cyane (Leopard Lacewing)
20 - Cethosia hypsea (Malay Lacewing)
50 - Doleschalia bisaltide (Autumn Leaf)
55 - Idea leuconoe (Paper Kite)
50 - Papilio memnon (Great Memnon)
50 - Papilio polytes (Polite Swallowtail)
55 - Parthenos sylvia (The Clipper)
40 - Vindula dejone (The Cruiser)

Total = 450

El Salvador

10 - Archeoprepona demophoon (Hubner’s Prepona)
15 - Battus belus (Belus Swallowtail)
30 - Caligo memnon (Owl Butterfly)
20 - Consul fabius (Tiger Leafwing)
15 - Heliconius charitonius (Zebra Longwing)
10 - Heliconius hecale (Tiger Longwing)
10 - Heliconius hortense (Mountain Longwing)
14 - Heliconius ismenius (Ismenius Longwing)
10 - Lycorea cleobaea (Large Tiger)
50 - Morpho peleides (Blue Morpho)
12 - Morpho polyphemus (White Morpho)
15 - Prepona demophon (One-spotted Prepona)
10 - Myscelia ethusa (Royal Blue Butterfly)
09 - Tithorea harmonia (Harmonia Tigerwing)

Total = 230


40 - Battus polydamas (Polydamus Swallowtail)
16 - Heraclides thoas (Thoas Swallowtail)
05 - Heraclides anchisiades (Ruby-spotted Swallowtail)
10 - Papilio androgeus (Queen Page)
15 - Heliconius melpomene (Postman)
04 - Heliconius sara (Sara Longwing)
15 - Heliconius hecale (Tiger Longwing)
40 - Dryas iulia (Julia Longwing)
40 - Anartia amathea (Scarlet Peacock)
05 - Hypna clytemnestra (Silver-studded Leafwing)
40 - Caligo memnon (Owl Butterfly)
40 - Tithorea harmonia (Harmonia Tigerwing)

Total = 270

Grand Total = 950

“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, February 8, 2014

Fresh Sheet - February 8, 2014

What better place to spend a cold winter’s day than our Tropical Butterfly House? Shed your down jacket, smell fragrant flowers and watch pupae emerge from their chrysalises. Your visit will feel like a mini-vacation!


10 - Cethosia biblis (Red Lacewing)
10 - Charaxes brutus (White-barred Charaxes)
10 - Charaxes castor (Giant Charaxes)
10 - Charaxes cithaeron (Blue-spotted Charaxes)
10 - Charaxes protoclea (Flame-bordered Charexes)
10 - Charaxes varanes (Pearl Charexes)
10 - Euxanthes wakefieldi (Forest Queen)
10 - Graphium agamemnon (Tailed Jay)
02 - Graphium angolanus (Angola White Lady)
30 - Idea leuconoe (Paper Kite)
10 - Ideopsis juventa (Wood Nymph)
10 - Pachliopta kotzeboea (Pink Rose)
30 - Papilio dardanus (Mocker Swallowtail)
10 - Papilio demodocus (Orchard Swallowtail)
30 - Papilio lowii (Sunset Swallowtail)
20 - Papilio nireus (Blue-banded Swallowtail)
22 - Papilio polytes (Polite Swallowtail)
20 - Papilio rumanzovia (Crimson Swallowtail)
10 - Parthenos sylvia philippensis (The Clipper)
10 - Parthenos sylvia violaceae (Violet Clipper)
06 - Troides rhadamantus plateni (Platen’s Birdwing)

Total = 300

“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, February 1, 2014

And Now, 12th Butterflies!

Continuing the Life Sciences football frenzy, Animal Care Lead Lauren Bloomenthal created a fruited field for our tropical butterflies. In our football field, mangos represent the Broncos, and grapes and blueberries represent the Seahawks. However, this game has been taken over completely by Owl butterflies. They are all over the field!

And don’t forget the naked mole rat colony where Animal Caretaker Maida Ingalls and Intern Sharette added some more fan food.

Go Hawks!

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Fresh Sheet – February 1, 2014

Some people may not be aware that our Tropical Butterfly House is a photographer’s dream. It’s replete with flowers, plants, and of course, beautiful butterflies! Come visit us and try to capture a photo of the ubiquitous Blue Morpho, like the one above, taken by PSC staff member Kris Pepper Hambrick.

El Salvador

20 - Caligo memnon (Owl Butterfly)
10 - Catonephele numilia (Numilia)
16 - Consul fabius (Tiger Leafwing)
10 - Heliconius erato (Small Postman)
08 - Heliconius hecale (Tiger Longwing)
08 - Heliconius hortense (Mountain Longwing)
17 - Heliconius ismenius (Ismenius Longwing)
20 - Lycorea cleobaea (Large Tiger)
40 - Morpho peleides (Blue Morpho)
15 - Morpho polyphemus (White Morpho)
25 - Myscelia ethusa (Royal Blue Butterfly)
10 - Parides photinus (Queen of Hearts)
12 - Prepona demophon (One-spotted Prepona)
10 - Prepona omphale (Blue Belly-Button)
10 - Siderone nemesis (Red-striped Leafwing)
15 - Tithorea harmonia (Harmonia Tigerwing)

Total = 246

“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!