PacSci Perspectives


Fresh Sheet – July 21, 2018

by | Jul 21, 2018

Catopsilia pyranthe (Mottled Emigrant) resting on an Arabian Jasmine (Jasminium sambac) flower.

Catopsilia pyranthe (Mottled Emigrant) resting on an Arabian Jasmine (Jasminium sambac) flower.

Every week Pacific Science Center receives a shipment of butterfly pupae from one of four vendors who sustainably raise caterpillars to the pupal stage, pack them up and send them to us for our enjoyment. We purchase these pupae because we are not permitted by the USDA to raise butterflies. Although our Tropical Butterfly House is a controlled environment, how do we prevent female butterflies from laying eggs everywhere?

For the most part, female butterflies are host-plant-specific and only lay eggs on a particular plant species that larvae will eat. For example, it’s been observed that Catopsilia pyranthe (Mottled Emigrant) pierce leaf surfaces with the spines on their legs and “taste” the plants before depositing eggs. Keeping the host plants out of our Tropical Butterfly House as well as vigilant monitoring for butterfly eggs by Living Exhibits staff keep us in compliance with the USDA permitting requirements. And this make a much more pleasant environment for all!

Penang Butterfly Farm

40 – Appias libythea (Striped Albatross)
15 – Appias lyncida (Chocolate Albatross)
20 – Attacus atlas (Atlas Moth)
20 – Catopsilia pyranthe (Mottled Emigrant)
40 – Catopsilia scylla (Orange Emigrant)
90 – Cethosia cyane (Leopard Lacewing)
10 – Danaus vulgaris (Blue Glassy Tiger)
5 – Hypolimnas bolina (Blue moon)
90 – Parthenos sylvia (The Clipper)
90 – Vindula dejone (The Cruiser)

Total = 420

“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.