Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Feeding Naked Mole Rats

Have you ever wondered what and how we feed our naked mole rats? Watch Davis and Katie to find out!


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Saturday, January 16, 2016

Seattle Sketcher Visits Our Tropical Butterfly House

Seattle locals are familiar with the weekly drawings in the Seattle Times by Gabriel Campanario, The Seattle Sketcher, and founder of the worldwide Urban Sketchers movement. The Life Sciences Department was delighted last week when Gabriel came to sketch in our Tropical Butterfly House for his weekly column.

Like the true journalist that he is, Gabriel spent as much time asking questions and learning about our butterflies, our exhibit, and our staff as he did drawing his surroundings. In the warm quiet of the garden, the artist created this scene in his sketchpad.

To see Gabriel’s final drawing in color go to this week’s column.


Drawing includes the skill of keen observation that most scientists relate to. Closely viewing and reproducing a scene or a subject onto paper is an excellent way to learn about the world and its inhabitants.

Pacific Science Center invites you to bring a sketchpad and pencil on your next visit. Find an inconspicuous spot and enjoy the pleasures of observing and drawing.

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Fresh Sheet – January 16, 2016

It’s a big three-day weekend at Pacific Science Center as we present the 42nd Annual Model Railroad Show. While you're here, take a break from the action and step into our Tropical Butterfly House. You'll be glad you did!

Neotropical Insects NV

10 - Battus polydamas (Polydamus Swallowtail)
20 - Heraclides anchisiades (Ruby-spotted Swallowtail)
45 - Heliconius melpomene (Postman)
09 - Heliconius hecale (Tiger Longwing)
10 - Hamadryas amphinome (Red Calico)
05 - Archeoprepona demophon (One-spotted Prepona)
20 - Biblis hyperia (Red Rim)
50 - Caligo memnon (Owl Butterfly)
50 - Eryphanis polyxena (Purple Mort Bleu Owl)
15 - Mechanitis polymnia (Polymnia Tigerwing)
16 - Tithorea harmonia (Harmonia Tigerwing)

Total = 250

Bioproductores de El Salvador

21 - Archeoprepona demophon (One-spotted Prepona)
25 - Battus belus (Belus Swallowtail)
10 - Caligo memnon (Owl Butterfly)
25 - Catonephele numilia (Numilia)
13 - Eurytides thymbraeus(White-crested Swallowtail)
12 - Heliconius hecale (Tiger Longwing)
10 - Heliconius ismenius (Ismenius Longwing)
25 - Lycorea cleobaea (Large Tiger)
14 - Morpho peleides (Blue Morpho)
25 - Myscelia ethusa (Royal Blue Butterfly)
25 - Papilio androgeus (Queen Page)
10 - Papilio erostratus (Dusky Swallowtail)
25 - Papilio torquatus (Band-gapped Swallowtail)
10 - Prepona omphale (Blue Belly-Button)

Total = 250

Grand Total = 500

“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, January 9, 2016

Fresh Sheet – January 9, 2016

Butterflies and a moth species from Malaysia join our warm and inviting Tropical Butterfly House this week. Step in from the cold and enjoy a beautiful, scent-filled garden of color. You’ll be glad you did!

Penang Butterfly Farm, Malaysia

17 - Attacus atlas (Atlas Moth)
80 - Cethosia cyane (Leopard Lacewing)
40 - Cethosia hypsea (Malay Lacewing)
15 - Danaus vulgaris (Blue Glassy Tiger)
30 - Hypolimnas bolina (Blue moon)
70 - Idea leuconoe (Paper Kite)
05 - Lexias dirtea (Archduke)
80 - Parthenos sylvia (The Clipper)
04 - Precis almana (Peacock Pansy)
06 - Tirumala septentrionis (Dark Blue Tiger)
70 - Vindula dejone (The Cruiser)

Total = 417

“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, January 4, 2016

Captain Phasmatodea and the Attack of the (Not Really) Clones

Star Wars excitement just won’t seem to quit for our Life Sciences Team. Several of us have commented that the Imperial Storm Troopers seem to come in two flavors: clone and not-clone. Simple. But for the Phasmatodae, it’s complicated.

Phasmatodea is the group of insects that include all the stick insects. Here at Pacific Science Center you can see three representatives, Medauroidea extradentata and Lonchodiodes samarensis (Vietnamese and Samar stick insects) and Extatosoma tiaratum (Australian prickly sticks).

Some species of stick insects can reproduce without males, a process called parthenogenesis. Our Vietnamese stick insect population has not produced a male in years.

This is a fast way for a female to make her own “clone army”, producing large numbers of offspring without the risks and lost energy of seeking a mate. For an insect with an abundant food source, this lets her colonize it faster. So why do some of their near relatives go through the entire mating thing?

It turns out that the stick insects’ process is little more complex and varied than creating identical clones as single cells do (or sea anemones). The female doesn’t make duplicates of herself, but instead generates a bit of diversity by creating eggs with different combinations of her own chromosomes. Like shuffling the same cards again and again, she will produce many combinations. As long as the combinations fit the environment, this is a speedy and efficient system.

But there is no room for new genes to be introduced. Over time, species that become parthenogenic become less and less able to mate and get locked into their reproductive pattern. When the environment changes, it may be harder for these species to adapt, as they have a smaller group of genes to draw on. Under such circumstances, a similar species that reproduced sexually might prevail.

Again, it’s complicated.

For the in depth story please see the following articles:




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Saturday, January 2, 2016

Fresh Sheet, January 2, 2016

The first shipment of pupae for 2016 contains butterflies that pupated last year in San Salvador, El Salvador, traveled 4853 km (3015 miles), and went through two time zones just to emerge in our Tropical Butterfly House for your enjoyment. Come hang out with them.

Bioproductores de El Salvador
El Salvador

10 - Anea eurypyle (Pointed Leafwing)
25 - Battus belus (Belus Swallowtail)
25 - Caligo memnon (Owl Butterfly)
15 - Catonephele numilia (Halloween Butterfly)
05 - Heliconius erato (Small Postman)
20 - Heliconius hecale (Tiger Longwing)
15 - Heliconius ismenius (Ismenius Longwing)
15 - Lycorea cleobaea (Large Tiger)
10 - Morpho polyphemus (White Morpho)
10 - Myscelia ethusa (Royal Blue Butterfly)
25 - Papilio androgeus (Queen Page)
25 - Papilio erostratus (Dusky Swallowtail)
10 - Papilio garamas(Magnificent Swallowtail)
25 - Papilio torquatus (Band-gapped Swallowtail)
20 - Parides montezuma (Montezuma Cattleheart)
25 - Archeoprepona demophon (One-spotted Prepona)
10 - Prepona omphale (Blue Belly-Button)
12 - Tithorea harmonia (Harmonia Tigerwing)

Total = 302

“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!