PacSci Perspectives


Fresh Sheet – June 24, 2017

by | Jun 24, 2017

Vindula dejone (The Cruiser)

Vindula dejone (The Cruiser)

This week’s pupae shipment from Malaysia has us considering paleogeography. It seems that Vindula dejone (The Cruiser) and all the Cethosia species are close relatives to the Neotropic Heliconius butterflies and are considered remnant representatives of the Heliconiinae subfamily in Asia. Their lineages were separated when Gondwanaland, the ancient supercontinent, broke up although there is no evidence of exactly when their last common ancestor would have said goodbye to its offspring as one went to South America and the other drifted off via Antarctica to end up in Australia and ultimately SE Asia.

The above may sound too hypothetical, but in some way it must be true. These species would have shared a common ancestor and either island hopped or separated due to continental drift. Try to imagine the changes in a 600 million year time scale.

Not surprisingly, Vindula and Cethosia species share more traits with each other and with the Heliconiinae species that are considered “ancestral” (Philathrea, Agraulis, and Euiedes) than with the more specialized
Heliconius genus. A discussion of those traits will be the topic on another day.

Enjoy these species next time you visit our Tropical Butterfly House!

Penang Butterfly Farm

10 – Appias lyncida (Chocolate Albatros)
20 – Catopsilia pyranthe (Mottled Emigrant)
100 – Cethosia cyane (Leopard Lacewing)
13 – Cethosia hypsea (Malay Lacewing)
6 – Euploea modesta (Magnificent Blue Crow)
70 – Hypolimnas bolina (Blue moon)
70 – Idea leuconoe (Paper Kite)
4 – Lexias dirtea (Archduke)
11 – Papilio memnon (Great Memnon)
100 – Parthenos sylvia (The Clipper)
12 – Precis almana (Peacock Pansy)
4 – Precis atlites (Gray Pansy)
20 – Tirumala septentrionis (Dark Blue Tiger)
100 – Vindula dejone (The Cruiser)

Total = 540

“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.