Sunday, February 28, 2016

Releasing Butterflies

Ever wondered how we release the butterflies into our Tropical Butterfly House? Watch to find out!

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Thursday, February 25, 2016

Be a Horticulture Exhibit Volunteer

Do you like plants, dirt, and science education? Do you think topics like pollination biology and plant domestication are cool? If so, come join our team of Horticulture Exhibit Volunteers!

Volunteers get hands-on horticulture experience working with exhibit plants, and help Pacific Science Center guests learn about the science behind our living exhibits. Horticulture Exhibit Volunteers work in our Tropical Butterfly House, the native plant Pollinator Garden, and in our new garden exhibit about plant domestication, “Civilized Seeds: A History of People and Plants.”

Join the talented crew that beautifies and interprets PSC’s plant exhibits. Become a Horticulture Exhibit Volunteer!

Please click on the link below for more information.

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Saturday, February 20, 2016

Fresh Sheet – February 20, 2016

Over 400 pupae arrive this week from our good friends in Costa Rica. These beautiful butterflies are going to love the nectar, warmth, and humidity in our Tropical Butterfly House thanks to our hard working Horticulture staff and volunteers. Stop in soon!

Suministros Entimológicos Costarricenses, SA
Costa Rica Entomological Supply

15 - Agraulis vanilla (Gulf Fritllary)
08 - Anartia fatima (Banded Peacock)
06 - Archeoprepona demophon (One-spotted Prepona)
08 - Caligo atreus (Yellow-Edged Giant-Owl)
10 - Caligo eurilochus (Forest Giant Owl)
15 - Caligo memnon (Owl Butterfly)
40 - Catonephele numilia (Numilia)
15 - Danaus plexippus (The Monarch)
20 - Dryadula phaetusa (Banded Orange Heliconian)
20 - Eueiudes isabella (Isabella’s Longwing)
10 - Greta oto (Glasswing)
20 - Hamadryas laodamia (Starry Calico)
25 - Heliconius cydno (Cydno Longwing)
17 - Heliconius doris (Doris Longwing)
12 - Heliconius erato (Small Postman)
21 - Heliconius hecale (Tiger Longwing)
20 - Heliconius melpomene (Postman)
15 - Heliconius sapho (Sapho Longwing)
32 - Morpho peleides (Blue Morpho)
26 - Myscelia cyaniris (Blue Wave Butterfly)
30 - Papilio thoas (Thoas Swallowtail)
18 - Siproeta stelenes (Malachite)

Total = 403

“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!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Ode to an Iguana

As today is a special day to celebrate love, Animal Caretaker Katie has written a poem in Horatian Ode format to one of her favorite friends at Pacific Science Center: Iggy the Iguana. Happy Valentine’s Day to all!

Ode to an Iguana

Don’t get too attached to the foster iguana because you know it will not last

That’s what I told myself when I first met Iggy, the green iguana

Oh, but her green-gray scales and her mysterious past!

Her mischievous face, her spines down her back, so reminiscent of prehistoric fauna!

With potential adopters on the horizon, I couldn’t open my heart

Even when I pet and cuddled her I tried to stay firm

But weeks went by, my resolution started to wane

How could I resist her when she is so cuddly and smart?!

We can still learn from her and enjoy every moment in the short-term

I’ll love her and wish her the best forever home, just the same!!!

-Katie Malmberg, February 2016

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Saturday, February 13, 2016

Fresh Sheet – February 13, 2016

Have you looked into the Emerging Window in our Tropical Butterfly House lately? Check it out soon. There is always something going on!

Bioproductores de El Salvador
El Salvador

12 - Archeoprepona demophoon (Hubner’s Prepona)
25 - Battus belus (Belus Swallowtail)
15 – Caligo memnon (Owl Butterfly)
25 - Catonephele numilia (Halloween Butterfly)
10 - Heliconius hecale (Tiger Longwing)
20 - Heliconius ismenius (Ismenius Longwing)
15 - Lycorea cleobaea (Large Tiger)
10 - Morpho polyphemus (White Morpho)
25 - Myscelia ethusa (Royal Blue Butterfly)
07 - Archeoprepona demophon (One-spotted Prepona)
25 - Prepona omphale (Blue Belly-Button)
15 - Tithorea harmonia (Harmonia Tigerwing)

Total = 204

Neotropical Insects NV

10 - Battus polydamas (Polydamus Swallowtail)
42 - Heraclides thoas (Thoas Swallowtail)
40 - Heliconius melpomene (Postman)
20 - Heliconius hecale (Tiger Longwing)
20 - Dryas iulia (Julia Longwing)
30 - Anartia amathea (Scarlet Peacock)
10 - Archeoprepona demophoon (Hubner’s Prepona)
40 - Caligo memnon (Owl Butterfly)
04 - Eryphanis polyxena (Purple Mort Bleu Owl)
24 - Mechanitis polymnia (Polymnia Tigerwing)
30 - Tithorea harmonia (Harmonia Tigerwing)

Total = 270

Grand total = 474

“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!

Friday, February 12, 2016

A Microchipping Photo Story

Recently, we discussed the solution to identifying our individual naked mole rats: microchipping!

The following is a photo story of this procedure.

First, Animal Caretakers Lauren and Maida collect the naked mole rats from their chambers.

Then each mole rat is scanned with the previously chipped animals returned to the exhibit.

The mole rats await the procedure. A lot of squeaking is going on ...

… as Dr. Mass prepares …

… his magic box of tricks.

Next each naked mole rat is weighted and identified,

… logged in,

… and assigned a chip number.

One by one, the naked mole rats are anesthetized.

Dr. Maas carefully implants the microchip.

He applies a little antiseptic glue …

… and places the mole rat in a recovery chamber until it awakens ...

... with Animal Caretaker Katie watching over the recovering patients.

Once revived, the newly microchipped naked mole rats return to the colony, ready to entertain our guests. Come see them!

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Saturday, February 6, 2016

Fresh Sheet – February 6, 2016

In addition to this week’s shipment of beautiful butterflies, our Malaysian vendors have sent us female Deroplatys lobata (Malaysian Dead Leaf Mantis). Look for this mantid on exhibit in the Insect Village.

Penang Butterfly Farm, Malaysia

05 - Attacus atlas (Atlas Moth)
80 - Cethosia cyane (Leopard Lacewing)
45 - Cethosia hypsea (Malay Lacewing)
05 - Euploea mulciber (Striped Blue Crow)
10 - Hypolimnas bolina (Blue moon)
30 - Idea leuconoe (Paper Kite)
80 - Parthenos sylvia (The Clipper)
26 - Precis almana (Peacock Pansy)
14 - Precis atlites (Gray Pansy)
35 - Vindula dejone (The Cruiser)

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!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Identifying the Colony

Since the arrival of six naked mole rats to Pacific Science Center from the Philadelphia Zoological Gardens in 1993, we have tried a variety of methods to identify each individual. Perhaps we have finally found a solution!

Taking care of eusocial animals means taking care of an entire group; not just individuals. Twenty-three years ago we primarily focused on the colony health and total number of naked mole rats. Over time we wanted more information and began to collect records on the individual animals.

Mole rats are not easy animals to identify individually. Unlike animals with anatomical features that can be marked and tagged, naked mole rats have internal ears and sensitive tails. A leg band could simply be chewed off.

In 2001, we first attempted to identify individual naked mole rats by implanting microchips. At that time, microchips were much larger than today’s implants. The few individuals whom we did microchip had significant issues with healing and infection after the procedure. Over time, they recovered and eight of those original few are still in our colony. That experience soured us on microchips for a long time.

Our next tactic was significantly lower tech: Sharpie markers. Animal Care used a combination of colors and ink placement on the mole rats’ skin. However, the ink had to be refreshed monthly as the marks easily faded from the animals’ thin and stretchy skin. After five years, we searched for a more permanent method to identify the naked mole rats.

In September 2011, we had the colony tattooed. We were very hopeful about this technique, but unfortunately tattoos were not a magical solution. The mole rats’ skin is so thin that the subcutaneous ink bled and the markings ran together. Furthermore, we had a large number of mole rats that were too young to be tattooed at that time. They have never been marked.

Back to the drawing board and back to the conversation about microchips. In the past 15 years, technology has produced an implantable microchip that is a fraction of the size of the old ones. But we were still cautious.

In October, our veterinarian Dr. Maas implanted microchips in three of the unmarked naked mole rats as a test. Noting their success, we next had a group of 24 chipped. All seem to be thriving.

Recently Dr. Maas completed the multistage chipping of our naked mole rat colony and now the members of the colony can easily be scanned and identified as they are checked for weight and health.

The next time we perform a mole rat health check we won’t have to squint and ask each other, “Was that one dot or two?” The future has arrived!

Read more!