PacSci Perspectives


Fresh Sheet – December 3, 2016

by | Dec 3, 2016

Heliconius melpomene (Postman)

Mimicry alert! Among the many beautiful butterflies emerging this week in our Tropical Butterfly House are Heliconius melpomene (Postman) and Heliconius erato (Small Postman). These insects exhibit Müllerian mimicry, the evolutionary strategy where both species warn predators of their toxicity by developing the same appearance.

These two species vary enormously through their range, which is from Mexico to Northern South America. Yet whatever markings one species has in a particular area, so does the other.

Look around the flowering nectar providers in our Tropical Butterfly House. Can you tell the difference between the two species?

Suministros Entimológicos Costarricenses, SA
CRES Costa Rica

4 – Caligo atreus (Yellow-Edged Giant-Owl aka Husky Butterfly)
25 – Catonephele numilia (Halloween Butterfly)
9 – Eueiudes isabella (Isabella’s Longwing)
20 – Greta oto (Glasswing)
40 – Hamadryas laodamia (Starry Calico)
24 – Heliconius cydno (Cydno Longwing)
10 – Heliconius doris (Doris Longwing)
14 – Heliconius erato (Small Postman)
19 – Heliconius hecale (Tiger Longwing)
15 – Heliconius hewitsoni (Hewitson’s Longwing)
10 – Heliconius ismenius (Ismenius Longwing)
36 – Heliconius melpomene (Postman)
40 – Heraclides anchisiades (Ruby-spotted Swallowtail)
32 – Morpho peleides (Blue Morpho)
33 – Myscelia cyaniris (Blue Wave Butterfly)
22 – Papilio thoas (Thoas Swallowtail)
20 – Siproeta epaphus (Rusty-tipped Page)
30 – Siproeta stelenes (Malachite)

Total = 403


“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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