PacSci Blog

Fresh Sheet – September 7, 2019

Sep 7, 2019

Papilio pilumnus (Three-tailed Swallowtail)

Papilio pilumnus (Three-tailed Swallowtail)

Swallowtail butterflies, members of the Family Papilionidae, are so named because their hindwings often have extensions that resemble the tails of swallows. But have you noticed that not all Papilio butterflies have tails? And the beautiful Papilio pilumnus has three tails? What do you think is the function of these adornments?

Pacific Science Center is permitted to receive about 50 different species of Swallowtail butterflies and this week we’ll be flying six different species from El Salvador. Next time you visit our Tropical Butterfly House, look around and see if you can spot some Papilio butterflies flashing their long swallowtails. When identifying a species, keep in mind that an individual butterfly may have shed its tail due to self-defense or aging. Wing damage is common and doesn’t seem to impede the butterfly’s ability to fly.

Bioproductores de El Salvador
El Salvador

28 – Caligo memnon (Owl Butterfly)
15 – Catonephele numilia (Grecian Shoemaker)
35 – Eurytides epidaus (Long-tailed Kite Swallowtail)
25 – Eurytides thymbraeus (White-crested Swallowtail)
16 – Heliconius charitonius (Zebra Longwing)
10 – Heliconius hecale (Tiger Longwing)
40 – Heliconius hortense (Mountain Longwing)
15 – Lycorea cleobaea (Large Tiger)
15 – Memphis eurypyle (Pointed Leafwing)
15 – Memphis forreri (Forrer’s Leafwing)
20 – Morpho peleides (Peleides Blue Morpho)
40 – Morpho polyphemus (White Morpho)
35 – Myscelia ethusa (Royal Blue Butterfly)
12 – Papilio cresphontes (Giant Swallowtail)
10 – Papilio erostratus (Dusky Swallowtail)
40 – Papilio pilumnus (Three-tailed Swallowtail)
10 – Papilio torquatus (Band-gapped Swallowtail)
10 – Parides montezuma (Montezuma Cattleheart)
5 – Archeoprepona demophon (One-spotted Prepona)
12 – Tithorea harmonia (Harmonia Tigerwing)

Total = 408



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.