Saturday, October 31, 2015

Fresh Sheet – October 31, 2015

We just heard that our Eueiudes isabella (Isabella’s Longwing) are going as Heliconius ismenius (Ismenius Longwing) for Halloween tonight. But the Heliconius hecale (Tiger Longwing) are keeping their costumes a secret. Can you spot the disguises of these black and orange species? Come by anyway and see all our boo-tiful butterflies.

23 - Archeoprepona demophon (One-spotted Prepona)
31 - Caligo memnon (Owl Butterfly)
21 - Catonephele numilia (Numilia)
24 - Eryphanis polyxena (Purple Mort Bleu Owl)
15 - Eueiudes isabella (Isabella’s Longwing)
40 - Greta oto (Glasswing)
15 - Hamadryas amphinome (Red Calico)
17 - Hamadryas februa (Gray Calico)
06 - Hamadryas feronia (Variable Calico)
30 - Hamadryas laodamia (Starry Calico)
30 - Heliconius doris (Doris Longwing)
12 - Heliconius erato (Small Postman)
18 - Heliconius hecale (Tiger Longwing)
14 - Heliconius ismenius (Ismenius Longwing)
16 - Heraclides anchisiades (Ruby-spotted Swallowtail)
02 - Morpho amathonte (Amathonte's Morpho,)
29 - Morpho peleides (Blue Morpho)
40 - Myscelia cyaniris (Blue Wave Butterfly)
09 - Prepona omphale (Blue Belly-Button)
14 - Siproeta epaphus (Rusty-tipped Page)

Total = 406

“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, October 28, 2015

Treats and Tricks

Life Sciences' Halloween tradition started early this year with assorted tricks and treats for our critters. All of Pacific Science Center has been observing Grosstober this month and will top it off this Friday and Saturday, October 30 and 31, with Tricks Treats And Science Feats.

Come by and see Iggy enjoy her treat basket …

... and the Madagascar hissing cockroaches’ black cat decor.

One sea urchin snared a skeleton …

... while another urchin used the corpse as a decoration!

The millipedes investigated their bumpy pumpkin …

... but Ali couldn’t figure out what the yellow brain was doing in his enclosure.

Lydia may not know what to make of the pumpkin on her doorstep …

But the naked mole rats don’t even care. They love this time of year! We do, too!

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Saturday, October 24, 2015

Fresh Sheet – October 24th, 2015

Our Tropical Butterfly House awaits your visit with 545 more pupae preparing to emerge. Stop by and observe the beautiful butterflies and the nectar-producing plants they love.

Neotropical Insects NV

55 - Battus polydamas (Polydamus Swallowtail)
30 - Heliconius melpomene (Postman)
40 - Dryas iulia (Julia Longwing)
08 - Agraulis vanilla (Gulf Fritllary)
10 - Catonephele orites (Orange-banded Shoemaker)
07 - Hamadryas feronia (Variable Calico)
50 - Caligo memnon (Owl Butterfly)
30 - Eryphanis polyxena (Purple Mort Bleu Owl)
40 - Tithorea harmonia (Harmonia Tigerwing)

Total = 270

Bioproductores de El Salvador

15 - Archeoprepona demophon (One-spotted Prepona)
08 - Archeoprepona demophoon (Hubner’s Prepona)
25 - Battus belus (Belus Swallowtail)
10 - Caligo memnon (Owl Butterfly)
25 - Eurytides thymbraeus(White-crested Swallowtail)
16 - Heliconius hecale (Tiger Longwing)
12 - Heliconius ismenius (Ismenius Longwing)
12 - Lycorea cleobaea (Large Tiger)
08 - Morpho peleides (Blue Morpho)
20 - Morpho polyphemus (White Morpho)
20 - Myscelia ethusa (Royal Blue Butterfly)
20 - Papilio androgeus (Queen Page)
10 - Papilio erostratus (Dusky Swallowtail)
14 - Papilio garamas (Magnificent Swallowtail)
25 - Papilio torquatus (Band-gapped Swallowtail)
15 - Prepona omphale (Blue Belly-Button)
20 - Tithorea harmonia (Harmonia Tigerwing)

Total = 275

Grand Total = 545

“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, October 17, 2015

Fresh Sheet – October 17, 2015

There will be a lot more emerging butterflies (and moths!) hanging out this week in the emerging window. We will be releasing them into the garden twice a day. Stop by our Tropical Butterfly House and watch them fly.

Penang Butterfly Farm, Malaysia

20 - Attacus atlas (Atlas Moth)
60 - Catopsilia scylla (Orange Emigrant)
70 - Cethosia cyane (Leopard Lacewing)
20 - Cethosia hypsea (Malay Lacewing)
10 - Danaus vulgaris (Blue Glassy Tiger)
20 - Hypolimnas bolina (Blue moon)
60 - Idea leuconoe (Paper Kite)
40 - Papilio memnon (Great Memnon)
70 - Parthenos sylvia (The Clipper)
70 - Vindula dejone (The Cruiser)

Total = 440

“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, October 14, 2015

Halloween Urchins

What happens when you try to dress a sea urchin up for Halloween? Apparently, the urchin tries on the outfit but ends up wearing something else. But we had reason to hope our costumes would work.

Urchins primarily eat algae and kelp, often grabbing bits of food out of the water. Then they use their tube feet and spines to convey food from whatever part of the body first contacts it, to their mouth. Animal Caretakers enjoy offering them long strands of kelp just to watch this process.

It’s also common for green sea urchins to have non-food items all over their top and sides. They will hold onto those items for days or longer. It’s hard not to think that they must somehow benefit from doing this. Our green urchins are all carrying something, usually small shells or bits of coral. This behavior has been extensively studied. Possible explanations offered by scientists are refreshingly similar to the reasons anyone else might think of:

♣ To protect themselves from predators
♣ To protect themselves from wave action
♣ To take the brunt of collisions with flotsam and jetsam
♣ To protect themselves from harmful UV radiation
♣ In case there’s something edible on the item, they can eat it later
♣ Holding debris is an inadvertent result of being able to hold useful things like food and substrate

Recently in the Halloween holiday spirit, we offered our sea urchins something small and lightweight to hang onto. In the hopes of illustrating this behavior we offered a Star Wars Imperial Stormtrooper helmet. For a couple of days it worked, but so far the urchins show a strong preference for the shells and bits of debris that would be more natural in their habitat.

We want our animals’ enrichment to fill their needs as well as provide learning opportunities for our guests. The Stormtrooper helmet was fun and offered a good way to open conversations about this behavior, but so far the urchins are having none of it. And they get to decide.

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Saturday, October 10, 2015

Fresh Sheet – October 10, 2015

The emerging window is brimful of pupae this week! Butterfly farms in Costa Rica and El Salvador sent us 770 Lepidoptera. They’re waiting for your visit. Come by see them!

Suministros Entimológicos Costarricenses, SA
Costa Rica

30 - Archeoprepona demophon (One-spotted Prepona)
10 - Caligo atreus (Yellow-Edged Giant-Owl)
20 - Caligo eurilochus (Forest Giant Owl)
35 - Catonephele numilia (Numilia)
06 - Eryphanis polyxena (Purple Mort Bleu Owl)
02 - Eueides aliphera (Aliphera Longwing)
30 - Greta oto (Glasswing)
35 - Hamadryas februa (Gray Calico)
07 - Hamadryas feronia (Variable Calico)
10 - Hamadryas laodamia (Starry Calico)
29 - Heliconius cydno (Cydno Longwing)
47 - Heliconius hecale (Tiger Longwing)
28 - Heliconius melpomene (Postman)
15 - Heliconius sapho (Sapho Longwing)
35 - Morpho peleides (Blue Morpho)
30 - Myscelia cyaniris (Blue Wave Butterfly)
12 - Opsiphanes tamarindi (Tamarind Owl)
40 - Papilio thoas (Thoas Swallowtail)
07 - Prepona omphale (Blue Belly-Button)
13 - Siproeta epaphus (Rusty-tipped Page)

Total = 441

Bioproductores de El Salvador

15 - Anaea eurypyle (Pointed Leafwing)
10 - Anaea nobilis (Noble Leafwing)
10 - Archeoprepona demophoon (Hubner’s Prepona)
15 - Battus belus (Belus Swallowtail)
08 - Caligo memnon (Owl Butterfly)
15 - Catonephele numilia (Numilia)
10 - Eurytides thymbraeus(White-crested Swallowtail)
10 - Heliconius charitonius (Zebra Longwing)
11 - Heliconius hecale (Tiger Longwing)
08 - Heliconius hortense (Mountain Longwing)
10 - Heliconius ismenius (Ismenius Longwing)
15 - Lycorea cleobaea (Large Tiger)
25 - Morpho peleides (Blue Morpho)
25 - Morpho polyphemus (White Morpho)
20 - Myscelia ethusa (Royal Blue Butterfly)
20 - Papilio androgeus (Queen Page)
15 - Papilio erostratus (Dusky Swallowtail)
25 - Papilio torquatus (Band-gapped Swallowtail)
07 - Parides iphidamas (Transandean Cattleheart)
10 - Parides photinus (Queen of Hearts)
10 - Archeoprepona demophon (One-spotted Prepona)
15 - Prepona omphale (Blue Belly-Button)
10 - Siderone nemesis (Red-striped Leafwing)
10 - Tithorea harmonia (Harmonia Tigerwing)

Total = 329

Grand Total = 770

“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, October 7, 2015

How to Choose an Axolotl

Recently, Pacific Science Center’s Animal Care team added two new axolotls to our Reptile-Amphibian-Mammal (RAM) Zone. Sticking with our Beatrix Potter theme, their names are “Babbitty” and “Simpkin.” After their quarantine period, Dr. Maas, our veterinarian, gave them the green light to go into the exhibit tank with our big axolotl Flopsy. We will keep them separated with a divider for a few months to let them grow.

While looking them over, Dr. Maas repeatedly commented on how great they looked. While we wish we could take all the credit perhaps we can share some of the glory. We looked at a lot of axolotls before choosing these two. What did we look for?

Although not veterinarians, our Animal Care staff has learned to look for signs of general good health in our own animals. We know when a slight change might be an early warning of health problems to come. Choosing a new animal for its health is an extension of knowing what to look for in our current animals. Of course each species is unique but guidelines for our axolotls make a good strategy for choosing any healthy animal.

We looked for:

• Full, branched gills held out at an alert but relaxed angle. Axolotls breathe through their gills therefore the more expanded, fluffy and branched the gills are, the better! This is the equivalent to a clean nose in a kitten or puppy. Dr. Maas showed us that Babbitty’s pale gills turned red briefly when she went near the air bubbler, and also when she was upset during her exam. The posture and color of axolotl gills can show mood, health, and water quality.

• Strong necks and tails. We want new axo’s with a lot of muscle tone. Because they live underwater, even the healthiest axolotl still will have spindly little legs. So we look for muscular tails and thick, strong necks. We also wanted animals that had enough fat covering that we didn’t see all of their ribs. With any new animal, too thin is a concerning sign. A thin animal might be just undernourished but there could be deeper problems.

• Good skin color and texture. Flopsy, our older axolotl, has begun to lose pigment along her spine. Dr. Maas says the pattern of pigment loss is a healthy one – she is essentially going gray. But in a young axolotl, we wanted a consistent skin tone. If there is a pattern, we should see it everywhere. Skin discolorations can mean fungus or bacterial infection.

Although both of our new axolotls are healthy, they behave differently. Simpkin is an aggressive, ready feeder, who swims over and gulps down any food we offer. Babbitty, less eager to eat, would often wait to eat food until later, cleaning fallen morsels from the tank floor. At first we thought the eating styles could have to do with the way each was fed growing up. Or perhaps Babbitty’s vision is not as keen as Simpkin’s. Now it seems that both are adjusting to taking food from tongs. We will keep an eye on their growth rates to make sure they both continue to flourish and stay as healthy as they are now. Come visit the RAM Zone and watch our new axolotls grow!

Read more!