PacSci Perspectives

Fresh Sheet – January 28, 2017

by | Jan 28, 2017

Atlas cocoons

Attacus atlas (Atlas moth) cocoons

This week’s pupae shipment includes a hefty dose of Attacus atlas (Atlas Moth). Atlas moths <Sigh>. We love them but they do take up a lot of room on the pinning board and a lot of room in our brains. They have a wide-ranging field of host plants, so much so that the USDA asks exhibitors to separate the males from the females before putting them on exhibit.

Luckily we can sex them while they are still pupae, by differences in their genitalia. We sort and separate them so that we know how to display them later on.

Adult atlas moths only live about a week. They did all the eating they needed to in their larval stage. Then unlike butterfly larvae that pupae bear, the moth larva spins a silk cocoon for itself and pupates inside it.

We wish we knew when these moths would emerge but we can’t predict. Sometimes they all come out right away; other times they enter diapause, an arrested growth state where they may remain healthy but are not metamorphosing for months.

Are they worth it? Unambiguously, yes! They are huge and fuzzy looking with transparent triangles in their wings that allow you to see right through. Visit our Tropical Butterfly House and check them out.

Penang Butterfly Farm

50 – Attacus atlas (Atlas Moth)
50 – Catopsilia scylla (Orange Emigrant)
98 – Cethosia cyane (Leopard Lacewing)
15 – Hypolimnas bolina (Blue moon)
40 – Idea leuconoe (Paper Kite)
15 – Lexias dirtea (Archduke)
20 – Parthenos sylvia (The Clipper)
42 – Tirumala septentrionis (Dark Blue Tiger)
50 – Vindula dejone (The Cruiser)

Total = 400

Bioproductores de El Salvador

8 – Archeoprepona demophon (One-spotted Prepona)
12 – Battus belus (Belus Swallowtail)
40 – Caligo memnon (Owl Butterfly)
34 – Catonephele numilia (Halloween Butterfly)
35 – Eurytides thymbraeus (White-crested Swallowtail)
25 – Heliconius hortense (Mountain Longwing)
32 – Heliconius ismenius (Ismenius Longwing)
20 – Lycorea cleobaea (Large Tiger)
30 – Morpho peleides (Blue Morpho)
20 – Morpho polyphemus (White Morpho)
35 – Myscelia ethusa (Royal Blue Butterfly)
40 – Papilio erostratus (Dusky Swallowtail)
24 – Papilio pilumnus (Three-tailed Swallowtail)
8 – Papilio torquatus (Band-gapped Swallowtail)
24 – Prepona omphale (Blue Belly-Button)
16 – Tithorea harmonia (Harmonia Tigerwing)

Total = 403

Grand Total = 803

“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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