Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Our Lucky Star

When Animal Caretaker Katie Malmberg got the radio call, she knew something was a little different.

“A guest handed me something at the tide pool. I think you should see it”. The message told her to expect something odd, but she was not prepared for what she saw.

It was a sea star! A small mottled star, Evasterias, found by the guest on a sidewalk near Pacific Science Center. By itself, that was surprising and disturbing, but the bigger mystery was, it did not appear to be from our tide pool touch tank.

Animal Care keeps photos of all our sea stars, a practice we began when we first became concerned with Sea Star Wasting Disorder. We want to know which individual animal we are talking about in case anything happens to one of them.

As far as we can surmise, this star was not taken out of the tide pool and later dropped on the sidewalk by an absent-minded guest. Instead we believe, it may have been lifted from the beach by an overly ambitious gull. Sea stars are not a large portion of the diet of gulls, but a quick Internet search for images of “gulls eating starfish” reveals that they do sometimes try and the stars are hard to swallow. Perhaps our star was grabbed and carried by its captor to a safe feeling place, where the bird intended to finish swallowing it. Or it turned out to be too big. Or perhaps a more tempting morsel appeared and the gull flew off, leaving the stranded star to dry up in the sun.

Lucky for the star, someone found it.

The star is currently in our quarantine area. Between the trauma of being transported in such a way, and the chances of it succumbing to wasting disorder, its prognosis is still guarded. And though its fate is still up in the air, at least it is now back in the water.

Read more!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Fresh Sheet – July 26, 2014

I spy some beautiful butterflies from Malaysia in our Tropical Butterfly House this week. Come look them in the eye and visit Pacific Science Center’s exhibit, SPY: The Secret World of Espionage, before it leaves town.

Penang Butterfly Farm, Malaysia

10 - Danaus vulgaris (Blue Glassy Tiger)
10 - Papilio memnon (Great Memnon)
30 - Precis atlites (Gray Pansy)
50 - Parthenos sylvia (The Clipper)
50 - Vindula dejone (The Cruiser)
60 - Catopsilia scylla (Orange Emigrant)
60 - Idea leuconoe (Paper Kite)

Total = 330

“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, July 19, 2014

Fresh Sheet - July 19, 2014

It is so hot out in Seattle that the Tropical Butterfly House won't feel all that different from being outside. And in the butterfly house this week, look for the beautiful Papilio pilumnus, then look outside and see if you can find the similar looking local butterfly Papilio rutulus (Western Tiger Swallowtail).

Bioproductores de El Salvador

9 - Archeoprepona demophoon (Hubner’s Prepona)
20 - Caligo memnon (Owl Butterfly)
10 - Catonephele numilia (Numilia)
10 - Eurytides branchus (Dual-spotted Swallowtail)
15 - Heliconius erato (Small Postman)
20 - Heliconius hecale (Tiger Longwing)
10 - Heliconius ismenius (Ismenius Longwing)
12 - Lycorea cleobaea (Large Tiger)
40 - Morpho polyphemus (White Morpho)
25 - Myscelia ethusa (Royal Blue Butterfly)
10 - Papilio androgeus (Queen Page)
10 - Papilio pilumnus (Three-tailed Swallowtail)
10 - Papilio torquatus (Band-gapped Swallowtail)
10 - Archeoprepona demophon (One-spotted Prepona)
20 - Prepona omphale (Blue Belly-Button)
20 - Tithorea harmonia (Harmonia Tigerwing)

Total = 251


6 - Argema mimosa (African Moon Moth)
13 - Cethosia biblis (Red Lacewing)
10 - Cethosia cyane (Leopard Lacewing)
5 - Charaxes cithaeron (Blue-spotted Charaxes)
5 - Charaxes protoclea (Flame-bordered Charaxes)
10 - Charaxes varanes (Pearl Charexes)
10 - Graphium agamemnon (Tailed Jay)
9 - Graphium angolanus (Angola White Lady)
10 - Hypolimnas bolina (Blue moon)
5 - Idea leuconoe (Paper Kite)
10 - Ornithoptera priamus (New Guinea Birdwing)
10 - Pachliopta kotzebuea (Pink Rose)
10 - Papilio constantinus (Constantines's Swallowtail)
10 - Papilio dardanus (Mocker Swallowtail)
10 - Papilio lowii (Sunset Swallowtail)
20 - Papilio memnon (Great Memnon)
10 - Papilio nephelus (Yellow Helen)
20 - Papilio nireus (Blue-banded Swallowtail)
10 - Papilio palinurus (Banded Peacock)
15 - Papilio polytes (Polite Swallowtail)
15 - Parthenos sylvia lilacinus (Blue Clipper)
11 - Parthenos sylvia philippensis (The Clipper)
20 - Troides rhadamantus plateni (Platen’s Birdwing)

Total = 254

Grand Total= 505

“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, July 12, 2014

Fresh Sheet – July 12, 2014

Summertime… and the living is easy - especially if you’re a tropical butterfly lazing on a sunny afternoon, in the summertime. This is a great time to stop by our Tropical Butterfly House and groove with the locals.

Suministros Entimológicos Costarricenses, SA
Costa Rica

8 - Archeoprepona demophon (One-spotted Prepona)
2 - Brassolis isthmia (Small-spotted Owl)
9 - Caligo eurilochus (Forest Giant Owl)
51 - Catonephele numilia (Numilia)
10 - Eryphanis polyxena (Purple Mort Bleu Owl)
11 - Eueiudes isabella (Isabella’s Longwing)
26 - Greta oto (Glasswing)
1 - Hamadryas amphinome (Red Calico)
2 - Hamadryas februa (Gray Calico)
17 - Hamadryas laodamia (Starry Calico)
20 - Heliconius cydno (Cydno Longwing)
64 - Heliconius hecale (Tiger Longwing)
60 - Heliconius melpomene (Postman)
40 - Morpho peleides (Blue Morpho)
15 - Myscelia cyaniris (Blue Wave Butterfly)
33 - Nessaea aglaura (Aglaura Olivewing)
46 - Papilio thoas (Thoas Swallowtail)
15 - Parides iphidamas (Transandean Cattleheart)
50 - Siproeta epaphus (Rusty-tipped Page)

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!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Busy Bees

Pacific Science Center bees are building a wild comb in their observation beehive.

What does this mean? Well, every spring beekeepers install new bees with frames in our hive. The frames are filled with foundation, a flat wax with marked hexagonal patterns and come in deep (9-1/8” long) and shallow (5-3/4” long) sizes. The bees use these frames as templates to build their combs, store their honey, and raise their brood.

When our apiarist, Corky Luster, installed this year’s hive, he put four deep frames, complete with brood, on the side nearer the window and 4 shallow frames of honey on the other side. This arrangement left gaps between each of the shallow frames.

At first we weren’t sure just what the bees would do with the extra space in the hive. But before long, they were filling the spaces between the frames with wild comb – comb that doesn’t use a frame or foundation. What they do is form a big cluster of bees in the space they want to build in. Then some bees hang from the top of the gap while others pile up on the bottom. In the middle, bees are secreting wax and forming it into new comb while other bees are filling the wild comb with honey. This keeps the bees busy, gives them a great place to store resources, and creates enough space for a new brood. Hopefully, the wild comb will prevent our bees from wanting to swarm.

This is very exciting to watch! Stop by our observation beehive soon and watch bees making their wild hive. And don’t forget to look for the queen. She’s the one with the turquoise spot on her thorax.

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Saturday, July 5, 2014

Fresh Sheet – July 5, 2014

Have you ever seen The Butterfly Dance? If you are very observant, you can sometimes see a pair of butterflies partying among the plants - like these Heliconius melpomene (Postman). And our Tropical Butterfly House is the only place in town where you can see this happening. Visit soon!

Neotropical Insects NV

10 - Battus polydamas (Polydamus Swallowtail)
08 - Heraclides thoas (Thoas Swallowtail)
42- Heraclides anchisiades (Ruby-spotted Swallowtail)
05 - Heliconius melpomene (Postman)
20 - Heliconius hecale (Tiger Longwing)
40 - Dryas iulia (Julia Longwing)
45 - Anartia amathea (Scarlet Peacock)
25 - Archeoprepona demophoon (Hubner’s Prepona)
10 - Biblis hyperia (Red Rim)
45 - Caligo memnon (Owl Butterfly)
25 - Tithorea harmonia (Harmonia Tigerwing)

Total =270

Bioproductores de El Salvador

25 - Caligo memnon (Owl Butterfly)
15 - Catonephele numilia (Numilia)
10 - Consul fabius (Tiger Leafwing)
08 - Eurytides epidaus (Long-tailed Kite Swallowtail)
25 - Eurytides thymbraeus(White-crested Swallowtail)
10 - Heliconius erato (Small Postman)
10 - Heliconius hortense (Mountain Longwing)
10 - Heliconius ismenius (Ismenius Longwing)
15 - Lycorea cleobaea (Large Tiger)
30 - Morpho polyphemus (White Morpho)
15 - Myscelia ethusa (Royal Blue Butterfly)
08 - Papilio androgeus (Queen Page)
25 - Papilio erostratus (Dusky Swallowtail)
25 - Papilio torquatus (Band-gapped Swallowtail)
25 - Archeoprepona demophon (One-spotted Prepona)
15 - Tithorea harmonia (Harmonia Tigerwing)

Total = 271

Grand Total = 541

“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!