Saturday, March 19, 2016

Fresh Sheet - March 19, 2016

We have an especially exciting shipment from Costa Rica this week, as part of our Life Sciences Team visiting Costa Rica may have actually met these butterflies as caterpillars before they made their way up to Seattle!

Suministros Entimológicos Costarricenses, SA
Costa Rica Entomological Supply

18 - Archeoprepona demophon (One-spotted Prepona)
10 - Caligo memnon (Owl Butterfly)
9 - Catonephele numilia (Numilia)
33 - Danaus plexippus (The Monarch)
18 - Dryadula phaetusa (Banded Orange Heliconian)
6 - Eryphanis polyxena (Purple Mort Bleu Owl)
15 - Eueiudes isabella (Isabella’s Longwing)
12 - Greta oto (Glasswing)
11 - Hamadryas amphinome (Red Calico)
26 - Heliconius cydno (Cydno Longwing)
25 - Heliconius doris (Doris Longwing)
7 - Heliconius erato (Small Postman)
15 - Heliconius hecale (Tiger Longwing)
4 - Heliconius ismenius (Ismenius Longwing)
32 - Heliconius melpomene (Postman)
10 - Heliconius sapho (Sapho Longwing)
10 - Heraclides anchisiades (Ruby-spotted Swallowtail)
32 - Morpho peleides (Blue Morpho)
12 - Myscelia cyaniris (Blue Wave Butterfly)
10 - Nessaea aglaura (Aglaura Olivewing)
8 - Opsiphanes tamarindi (Tamarind Owl)
28 - Papilio thoas (Thoas Swallowtail)
10 - Parides arcas (Arcas Cattleheart)
9 - Parides iphidamas (Transandean Cattleheart)
10 - Siproeta epaphus (Rusty-tipped Page)
23 - 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!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Why is That Cage So Dirty??

If you look at some of the arthropod cages in the Insect Village, you might think that Animal Care is not very good at keeping the enclosures clean. Actually something else is going on that’s necessary in taking care of our animals.

Some of the terrariums, especially the ones that contain a whole colony of cockroaches, have a stripe of a grimy looking white film on them. That is a substance called Fluon®, a synthetic fluoropolymer that is used for a variety of applications. So why do we paint it on our cages? Because some insects have very sticky feet!

Fluon® acts as a slippery lubricant barrier between the insect habitat at the bottom of the cage and the lid at the top. Animals like our Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches can actually climb the smooth plexiglass walls of our cages and are only foiled by that slippery band of Fluon® that surrounds the cage.

When taking care of a colony of insects, containment is always a main concern. We want to know where our animals are at all times. And thanks to Fluon®, we can reliably know that these insects are staying at home.

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Saturday, March 12, 2016

Fresh Sheet - March 12, 2016

Our latest shipment of butterflies from Suriname includes 3 different "tiger" butterflies: orange, black and yellow butterflies. Can you identify the one pictured above?

Neotropical Insects NV

10 - Heraclides thoas (Thoas Swallowtail)
28 - Heliconius melpomene (Postman)
20 - Heliconius hecale (Tiger Longwing)
40 - Dryas iulia (Julia Longwing)
25 - Anartia amathea (Scarlet Peacock)
7 - Hamadryas amphinome (Red Calico)
20 - Archeoprepona demophoon (Hubner’s Prepona)
5 - Biblis hyperia (Red Rim)
40 - Caligo memnon (Owl Butterfly)
40 - Eryphanis polyxena (Purple Mort Bleu Owl)
15 - Mechanitis polymnia (Polymnia Tigerwing)
20 - Tithorea harmonia (Harmonia Tigerwing)

Total = 270

“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, March 9, 2016

Aussie Stick Hatchlings

Lots of critters are hatching around Pacific Science Center including eggs from the Australian stick (Extatosoma tiaratum) insect colony. This week, Animal Care Intern Davis presents another educational video on the behind-the-scenes rearing of these Phasmatodae.

Watch this:

We check the stick insects every day to see if any nymphs have emerged from their eggs. Every three or four days we mist the eggs with water to keep the humidity high enough for the stick insects to emerge. If we find a baby stick insect, we make a notation on the board, transfer it into a little container, and then transport it to the exhibit to be with the rest of its family!

For more information about parthenogenesis and the life cycle of these fascinating insects, read our recent article: Captain Phasmatodea and the Attack of the (Not Really) Clones.

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Saturday, March 5, 2016

Fresh Sheet – March 5, 2016

If you need to warm up after visiting Pacific Science Center’s Polar Science Weekend, stop by our Tropical Butterfly House. A colorful shipment of butterflies from Malaysia will be flying.

Penang Butterfly Farm, Malaysia

74 - Cethosia cyane (Leopard Lacewing)
06 - Cethosia hypsea (Malay Lacewing)
05 - Danaus vulgaris (Blue Glassy Tiger)
02 - Euploea mulciber (Striped Blue Crow)
08 - Hypolimnas bolina (Blue moon)
20 - Idea leuconoe (Paper Kite)
74 - Parthenos sylvia (The Clipper)
07 - Precis atlites (Gray Pansy)
01 - Tirumala septentrionis (Dark Blue Tiger)
20 - Vindula dejone (The Cruiser)

Total = 217

“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, March 4, 2016

Evolution for the Dinosaurs

Pacific Science Center’s Dinosaur exhibit is many things. It’s iconic. It’s beloved. To many kids, it’s real. It’s also a bit static, and very much considered a place for kids to go and play make-believe. For a space that introduces animals that once occupied the earth, lived, changed, and eventually became extinct, the exhibit cries out for an infusion of liveliness. With those criteria in mind, the Animal Care team decided to try a small experiment with live animals in the Dino exhibit space.

At PSC we exhibit snakes, a turtle and an iguana. Because scientists once assumed that dinosaurs resembled modern reptiles, it was a reasonable idea to feature one of our animals in the Dino exhibit.

However, recent fossil discoveries in hearts, bones, skeletons, and even feathers from dinosaurs have blurred the line between these extinct creatures and modern birds. This doesn’t mean dinosaurs were not reptiles. The research suggests that birds are part of that group as well.

Currently, PSC does not exhibit any birds and so Animal Care decided to start with a bird that is rugged, that everyone knows, and could be observed hatching. We chose a bird that lots of Seattleites keep in their yards, and know how to care for.

We present the humble but amazing chicken!

In early February, we started incubating two-dozen eggs in an eye-pleasing variety of colors and sizes, projecting footage of the eggs onto a big screen so guests could observe them hatch. A lot of kids expressed the hope that velociraptors would hatch out of them! Instead, on Feb. 22, baby chicks hatched out.

In case our eggs didn’t do well, we planned accordingly. But we had a great success and more eggs hatched than we have room for in our display. Seattle Farm Coop has offered to accept the extra chicks. They also helped us with early care for our new hatchlings and got them off to a healthy start.

If you are planning a visit to Pacific Science Center before March 15, we encourage you to come by the Dinosaur area and say “Hi” to our chicks or watch their antics on our web cam. After that, the brood heads to their permanent home with a devoted Seattle chicken keeper.

Read more!