PacSci Perspectives


Fresh Sheet – March 10, 2018

by | Mar 10, 2018

Morpho achilles (Blue-banded Morpho)

Morpho achilles (Blue-banded Morpho)

Working with butterflies that come from other countries is a bit of a tricky situation. Since we don’t want to do anything that affects the local environment, we work in close communication with the USDA. We apply for permits, listing every species of butterfly that we’d like to be able to exhibit and they tell us if there are any that we can’t have. Sometimes, there can be issues if a butterfly has a domestic population of a tropical species that lives in the local environment. That overlap means that if one of the tropical ones escaped, it could easily move into the local gene pool. Luckily, being all the way up in the Pacific Northwest, we rarely encounter that problem.

Once we have a list of butterflies that has been approved, we send that off to our vendors and they use it as a framework for what to send us. The breakdown of species in each shipment is mostly up to them and varies based on seasons and population successes. But they do take our preferences into account. In the last year alone, we had 106 different species of butterfly that flew in our Tropical Butterfly House! Next time you visit, see if you can spot a butterfly species you’ve never seen before!

Neotropical Insects NV

13 – Battus polydamas (Polydamus Swallowtail)
15 – Heraclides thoas (Thoas Swallowtail)
20 – Heraclides anchisiades (Ruby-spotted Swallowtail)
40 – Heliconius melpomene (Postman)
10 – Heliconius hecale (Tiger Longwing)
10 – Dryas iulia (Julia Longwing)
9 – Agraulis vanilla (Gulf Fritllary)
25 – Catonephele orites (Orange-banded Shoemaker)
34 – Anartia amathea (Scarlet Peacock)
6 – Archeoprepona demophoon (Hubner’s Prepona)
40 – Caligo memnon (Owl Butterfly)
10 – Eryphanis polyxena (Purple Mort Bleu Owl)
18 – Mechanitis polymnia (Polymnia Tigerwing)
40 – Tithorea harmonia (Harmonia Tigerwing)
10 – Morpho achilles (Blue-banded Morpho)

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.