PacSci Perspectives


Fresh Sheet – August 5, 2017

by | Aug 5, 2017

Myscelia cyaniris

How many shades of blue can you see in the wings of Myscelia cyaniris (Blue Wave Butterfly)?

This week we are featuring the Myscelia cyaniris (Blue Wave Butterfly) species from Costa Rica. This small, strikingly beautiful butterfly is one whose coloration is difficult to accurately describe. In fact, the other common names for Myscelia cyaniris are “Blue-banded Purplewing,” “Tropical Blue Wave,” “Whitened Bluewing,” or “Royal Blue.” (See why scientists don’t rely on common names for accuracy.) This naming inconsistency is due to the butterfly’s changing appearance when the light reflects off its wing scales. At some angles, the wings appear to be a bright neon blue. At others, the wings can seem to be a dark purple or even dull grey.

What other butterflies exhibit different wing coloration at different lighting angles? Our Tropical Butterfly House flies a few other species that have this ability. Stop by and check them out!

Suministros Entomológicos Costerricenses, S.A.
CRES, Costa Rica

2 – Adelpha fessonia (Mexican Sister)
16 – Archeoprepona demophon (One-spotted Prepona)
8 – Battus belus (Belus Swallowtail)
32 – Caligo memnon (Owl Butterfly)
14 – Catonephele mexicana (Mexican Catone)
26 – Catonephele numilia (Halloween Butterfly)
7 – Eryphanis polyxena (Purple Mort Bleu Owl)
15 – Greta oto (Glasswing)
16 – Hamadryas laodamia (Starry Calico)
15 – Heliconius cydno (Cydno Longwing)
34 – Heliconius doris (Doris Longwing)
23 – Heliconius hecale (Tiger Longwing)
9 – Heliconius hewitsoni (Hewitson’s Longwing)
13 – Heliconius melpomene (Postman)
32 – Morpho peleides (Blue Morpho)
20 – Myscelia cyaniris (Blue Wave Butterfly)
8 – Papillio anchisiades (Ruby-spotted Swallowtail)
19 – Papilio thoas (Thoas Swallowtail)
5 – Parides arcas (Arcas Cattleheart)
8 – Parides iphidamas (Transandean Cattleheart)
16 – Siproeta epaphus (Rusty-tipped Page)
14 – Siproeta stelenes (Malachite)

Total = 352


“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.