PacSci Perspectives


Fresh Sheet – July 1, 2017

by | Jul 1, 2017

Caligo memnon (Owl Butterfly), a member of the Nymphalidae family.

Caligo memnon (Owl Butterfly), a member of the Nymphalidae family.

One of the most ubiquitous butterflies in our Tropical Butterfly House is Caligo memnon (Owl Butterfly), a member of the Nymphalidae family. Nymphalidae is the largest family of Lepidoptera with around 6,000 species found all over the world. Observers may first assume that these butterflies have only four legs. What? Insects have six legs! But look closely. While the Nymphalidae only stand on four legs, they have two shorter forelimbs that look hairy. These fine hairs explain the common name of Nymphalidae, brush-footed butterflies.

Next time you visit our Tropical Butterfly House, see if you can distinguish some four-footed members of the Nymphalidae family. The Owl Butterfly is not the only one.

Neotropical Insects NV

6 – Battus polydamas (Polydamus Swallowtail)
20 – Heraclides anchisiades (Ruby-spotted Swallowtail)
20 – Heliconius melpomene (Postman)
50 – Dryas iulia (Julia Longwing)
70 – Anartia amathea (Scarlet Peacock)
5 – Archeoprepona demophoon (Hubner’s Prepona)
60 – Caligo memnon (Owl Butterfly)
5 – Mechanitis polymnia (Polymnia Tigerwing)
64 – Tithorea harmonia (Harmonia Tigerwing)

Total = 300


“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.