PacSci Perspectives


Fresh Sheet – June 17, 2017

by | Jun 17, 2017

Papilio pilumnus (Three-tailed Swallowtail)

Papilio pilumnus (Three-tailed Swallowtail)

Swallowtail butterflies, members of the Family Papilionidae, are so named because their hind-wings often have extensions that resemble the tails of swallows. But have you noticed that not all Papilio butterflies have tails? And the beautiful Papilio pilumnus has three tails? What do you think is the function of these adornments?

Pacific Science Center is permitted to receive about 50 different species of Swallowtail butterflies and this week we’ll be flying six different species from El Salvador. Next time you visit our Tropical Butterfly House, look around and see if you can spot some Papilio butterflies flashing their long swallowtails. When identifying a species, keep in mind that an individual butterfly may have shed its tail due to self-defense or aging. Wing damage is common and doesn’t seem to impede the butterfly’s ability to fly.

Bioproductores de El Salvador

25 – Anaea eurypyle (Pointed Leafwing)
20 – Archeoprepona demophoon (Hubner’s Prepona)
20 – Battus belus (Belus Swallowtail)
20 – Caligo memnon (Owl Butterfly)
8 – Catonephele numilia (Grecian Shoemaker)
35 – Eurytides thymbraeus (White-crested Swallowtail)
10 – Heliconius hecale (Tiger Longwing)
30 – Heliconius hortense (Mountain Longwing)
22 – Heliconius ismenius (Ismenius Longwing)
15 – Lycorea cleobaea (Large Tiger)
25 – Morpho peleides (Blue Morpho)
30 – Morpho polyphemus (White Morpho)
30 – Myscelia ethusa (Royal Blue Butterfly)
10 – Papilio androgeus (Queen Page)
16 – Papilio pilumnus (Three-tailed Swallowtail)
10 – Papilio torquatus (Band-gapped Swallowtail)
5 – Parides iphidamas (Transandean Cattleheart)
20 – Tithorea harmonia (Harmonia Tigerwing)

Total = 351


“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.