PacSci Blog

Fresh Sheet – August 24, 2019

by | Aug 24, 2019

Heliconius sara (Sara Longwing) enjoying Firebush (Hamelia patens)

Heliconius sara (Sara Longwing) enjoying Firebush (Hamelia patens)

This week we are featuring the delicate Heliconius sara (Sara Longwing) from Suriname since we have more of them than we often get.

The Sara comes from the disturbed edges of rainforests and loves orange flowers like Psiguria (Psiguria umbrosa) and Firebush (Hamelia patens). These butterflies are very active during the day and have a strong communal roosting habit. Toward the end of each day, the butterflies start settling down to sleep on very thin stems and tendrils, which heavy predators find difficult to climb. In the dim light, their markings blend in with the shadows and they look just like leaves hanging on the ends of vines. In the morning, the older butterflies go to feed on flowers they have visited before; younger ones follow them to learn where the good flowers are.

Because Sara Longwings can digest pollen as well as nectar, this species can live for several months. In our exhibit, guests often see older Sara Longwings with extensive damage to their wing margins but still flying strongly.

Neotropical Insects NV

42 – Heraclides anchisiades (Ruby-spotted Swallowtail)
30 – Heliconius sara (Sara Longwing)
20 – Dryas iulia (Julia Longwing)
8 – Agraulis vanillae (Gulf Fritillary)
15 – Catonephele orites (Orange-banded Shoemaker)
30 – Anartia amathea (Scarlet Peacock)
50 – Archeoprepona demophoon (Hubner’s Prepona)
15 – Biblis hyperia (Red Rim)
70 – Caligo memnon (Owl Butterfly)
10 – Tithorea harmonia (Harmonia Tigerwing)
10 – Morpho achilles (Blue-banded Morpho)

Total = 300



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.

“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.