PacSci Blog

Fresh Sheet – June 1, 2019

by | Jun 1, 2019


Tithorea harmonia (Harmonia Tigerwing) butterfly.

Tithorea harmonia (Harmonia Tigerwing) butterfly.

Tithorea harmonia (Harmonia Tigerwing) pupae.

Tithorea harmonia (Harmonia Tigerwing) pupae.


This week’s pupae shipment from Suriname contains two chrysalises that remind us of gold earrings, Mechanitis polymnia (Polymnia Tigerwing) and Tithorea harmonia (Harmonia Tigerwing).

Even though the word “chrysalis” comes from the Ancient Greek word khrusallis meaning gold, the pupae are not really made of metal. Entomologists call the visible gold material Multiple Endocuticular Thin Alternating Layers, an acronym for metal. The METAL structure refracts certain wavelengths of light making chrysalises and other metallic-appearing insects appear shiney.

You can learn more about this phenomenon at the “Ask an Entomologist” website. And then visit our Tropical Butterfly House to watch the glittering pupae eclose!

Neotropical Insects NV

5 – Battus polydamas (Gold Rim Swallowtail)
5 – Heraclides thoas (Thoas Swallowtail)
12 – Heraclides anchisiades (Ruby-spotted Swallowtail)
10 – Heliconius melpomene (Postman)
20 – Dryas iulia (Julia Longwing)
30 – Agraulis vanillae (Gulf Fritillary)
40 – Catonephele orites (Orange-banded Shoemaker)
55 – Anartia amathea (Scarlet Peacock)
10 – Archeoprepona demophoon (Hubner’s Prepona)
55 – Caligo memnon (Owl Butterfly)
5 – Eryphanis polyxena (Purple Mort Bleu Owl)
35 – Mechanitis polymnia (Polymnia Tigerwing)
10 – Tithorea harmonia (Harmonia Tigerwing)
8 – Morpho achilles (Blue-banded Morpho)

Total = 300

“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.These butterflies typically arrive as pupae on the Thursday or Friday before the Fresh Sheet is published. Some of these butterflies will start emerging the day they arrive or the next day, but other species may take a full week before they reach adulthood. After emerging, they may live for a week or even a few months! While we love sharing a variety of species with our guests, we cannot guarantee that any specific species will be flying on the day that you visit Pacific Science Center.If you are interested in photographing a specific butterfly and would like to be updated about when it is flying in the Tropical Butterfly House, please email with details and your contact information.

Adopt a Butterfly

Love the Tropical Butterfly House? Spread that love by adopting one of our beautiful winged creatures! Starting at just $50, your adoption will help care for the butterflies in the Tropical Butterfly House, and support of the hands-on science programming offered at Pacific Science Center. And, you’ll receive some exclusive benefits for your generosity.