PacSci Perspectives

Fresh Sheet – March 11, 2017

by | Mar 11, 2017

Atlas Moth

Attacus atlas (Atlas Moth)

This week’s pupae shipment contains a large number of Atlas moths (Attacus atlas). Although these Lepidoptera are much loved and admired, this species presents special husbandry tasks for Animal Care staff.

Before they are pinned to emerge, Atlas moth pupae genders must first be determined and the cocoons segregated. We display male cocoons in the emerging window while females develop behind-the scenes. Once the moths emerge from their cocoons, our release procedure is to allow the male Atlas moths to fly free and confine the females to a netted “flight cage” that will also be displayed in our Tropical Butterfly House.

The rational for this practice is that female Atlas moths tend to lay their eggs wherever they land rather than on a specific host plant. By isolating them, we prevent unwanted caterpillars appearing in the garden. Confining female Atlas moths in the garden allows them to continue to send out their pheromone signals to the males. Ultimately, the male moths will recognize mates by using their great sense of smell with their feathery antennae.

Next time you visit our Tropical Butterfly House, look for the free-flying male Atlas moths and their “smelly” mates. It will be a treat!

Penang Butterfly Farm

50 – Attacus atlas (Atlas Moth)
15 – Catopsilia pomona (Lemon Emigrant)
45 – Catopsilia scylla (Orange Emigrant)
100 – Cethosia cyane (Leopard Lacewing)
2 – Graphium sarpedon (Common Bluebottle)
10 – Hypolimnas bolina (Blue moon)
40 – Idea leuconoe (Paper Kite)
100 – Parthenos sylvia (The Clipper)
13 – Precis almanac (Peacock Pansy)
50 – Tirumala septentrionus (Dark Blue Tiger)
5 – Vindula dejone (The Cruiser)

Total = 430

Neotropical Insects NV

30 – Battus belus (Belus Swallowtail)
25 – Heraclides anchisiades (Ruby-spotted Swallowtail)
40 – Heliconius melpomene (Postman)
10 – Heliconius doris (Doris Longwing)
10 – Dryas iulia (Julia Longwing)
25 – Catonephele orites (Orange-banded Shoemaker)
45 – Anartia amathea (Scarlet Peacock)
5 – Hamadryas feronia (Variable Calico)
10 – Archeoprepona demophoon (Hubner’s Prepona)
5 – Biblis hyperia (Red Rim)
15 – Caligo memnon (Owl Butterfly)
40 – Mechanitis polymnia (Polymnia Tigerwing)
40 – Tithorea harmonia (Harmonia Tigerwing)

Total = 300
Grand Total = 730


“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.