PacSci Perspectives


Fresh Sheet – July 7, 2018

by | Jul 7, 2018

Danaus plexippus (The Monarch) pupa about to emerge (left) and an adult (right)

Danaus plexippus (The Monarch) pupa about to emerge (left) and an adult (right)

In last week’s Fresh Sheet we discussed how some pupae wiggle, making people think that the butterfly will soon emerge. In fact, the wiggling is just a natural reaction. So how can we detect when a butterfly is ready to emerge?

Take, for example, the Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexxipus) who arrives as a bright green pupa with black and gold accents (see more of them in the image below). You would never think that an orange and black butterfly would come out of that. And yet, soon before a butterfly emerges, the thick exoskeleton of the chrysalis will start to dissolve and thin out. At that point, you can see the colors of the soon-to-be adult butterfly peeking through.

Next time you visit our Tropical Butterfly House look closely in the emerging window. If, for example, you see a Monarch chrysalis that isn’t green, but instead is showing the orange and black wings, keep watching. You may be lucky enough to be there the moment that butterfly comes out of its chrysalis and reaches adulthood!

Suministros Entimológicos Costarricenses, SA
CRES Costa Rica

6 – Archeoprepona demophon (One-spotted Prepona)
7 – Battus belus (Belus Swallowtail)
10 – Battus polydamas (Polydamus Swallowtail)
16 – Caligo eurilochus (Forest Giant Owl)
17 – Caligo memnon (Owl Butterfly)
43 – Catonephele numilia (Halloween Butterfly)
6 – Danaus plexippus (The Monarch)
7 – Eryphanis polyxena (Purple Mort Bleu Owl)
30 – Greta oto (Glasswing)
11 – Hamadryas amphinome (Red Calico)
50 – Heliconius doris (Doris Longwing)
7 – Heliconius hecale (Tiger Longwing)
7 – Heliconius hewitsoni (Hewitson’s Longwing)
10 – Heliconius ismenius (Ismenius Longwing)
33 – Morpho peleides (Blue Morpho)
28 – Myscelia cyaniris (Blue Wave Butterfly)
4 – Papilio cresphontes (Giant Swallowtail)
11 – Papilio thoas (Thoas Swallowtail)
7 – Parides arcas (Arcas Cattleheart)
7 – Rothschildia lebeau (Lebeau’s Rothschildia)
7 – Siproeta epaphus (Rusty-tipped Page)
34 – Siproeta stelenes (Malachite)

Total = 358


Danaus plexippus (The Monarch) pupae ready for the emerging window.

Danaus plexippus (The Monarch) pupae ready for the emerging window.

“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.