PacSci Perspectives

Fresh Sheet – November 12, 2016

by | Nov 12, 2016

Parthenos sylvia

Parthenos sylvia (The Clipper)

This week’s featured butterfly species is Parthenos sylvia, (The Clipper). The Clipper is a forest butterfly and its behavior in the wild is not well documented.

One of The Clipper’s very striking characteristics is its rapid, unpredictable flight pattern. Clippers are energetic fliers and their erratic flight habits are thought to have evolved to evade predators. In our Tropical Butterfly House where we do not have predators, these butterflies are most noted for resting, wings open, near water. Clippers seem to be strongly attracted to water, wet soil, and puddles on the floor. Watch your step around them!

Parthenos sylvia is also well known for having many color variants in different parts of its geographic range. It is native to many parts of Southeast Asia and has as many as 26 subspecies. Although we only feature blue and brown variants, The Clipper has a variety of background colors – from green in India, blue in Malaysia, brown in the Philippines, and yellowish in Queensland, Australia. In biology, a gradually changing trait, such as color, over a geographical region is known as a “cline.”

Penang Butterfly Farm, Malaysia

80 – Catopsilia scylla (Orange Emigrant)
80 – Cethosia cyane (Leopard Lacewing)
40 – Hypolimnas bolina (Blue moon)
40 – Idea leuconoe (Paper Kite)
100 – Parthenos sylvia (The Clipper)
60 – Tirumala septentrionus (Dark Blue Tiger)
100 – Vindula dejone (The Cruiser)

Total = 500

“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.

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