PacSci Perspectives


Fresh Sheet – June 30, 2018

by | Jun 30, 2018

Wiggling Pupae

This week’s pupae shipment from Suriname is already unpacked, pinned and hanging in the emerging window. When Animal Care staff were unpacking this shipment, we noticed a larger than normal amount of “wigglers”, or chrysalises that are very active. These are pupae that move their abdomen back and forth in response to some stimulus. Oftentimes, guests will see this movement and interpret it as a sign that a butterfly is about to emerge from that chrysalis. In fact, not all pupae can do this.

Some caterpillars form into a chrysalis with the abdomen fused together and don’t have the ability to move. A pupa wiggling is actually unrelated to butterfly emergence.

If you want to see a lot of chrysalises moving in our Emerging Window, look in the next time an Animal Caretaker mists all the chrysalises with water and watch them go crazy! That’s how we recorded the pupae wiggling in the video above.

Neotropical Insects NV

13 – Heraclides anchisiades (Ruby-spotted Swallowtail)
20 – Heliconius melpomene (Postman)
17 – Dryas iulia (Julia Longwing)
60 – Agraulis vanillae (Gulf Fritillary)
25 – Catonephele numilia (Grecian Shoemaker)
50 – Anartia fatima (Banded Peacock)
20 – Hamadryas feronia (Variable Calico)
7 – Archeoprepona demophoon (Hubner’s Prepona)
8 – Biblis hyperia (Red Rim)
50 – Caligo memnon (Owl Butterfly)
30 – Tithorea harmonia (Harmonia Tigerwing)

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.