PacSci Perspectives


Fresh Sheet – July 28, 2018

by | Jul 28, 2018

Anartia amathea (Scarlet Peacock) enjoying nectar from withered flowers Egyptian Star Cluster (Pentas lanceolata).

Anartia amathea (Scarlet Peacock) enjoying nectar from withered flowers Egyptian Star Cluster (Pentas lanceolata).

Observers of nectaring butterflies in our Tropical Butterfly House are familiar with the abundant Anartia amathea (Scarlet Peacock) feeding on the flowers of Crown of Thorns (Euphorbia millii), Shrub Verbena (Lantana camara), and even Jungle Flame (Ixora coccinea). With all these choices of nectar, we were surprised to find so many Anartia nectaring on the withered blossoms of Egyptian Star Cluster (Pentas lanceolata). So what’s going on here?

Living Exhibits manager, Sarah Moore, explains: “The nectar is right down at the base of the flowers, and inflorescences [flower clusters] that are starting to wither still give ample nectar and are easier for the butterflies to walk on. The spikey stamens are a bit of a challenge on the some fully open flowers.”

Maybe the next time you are deadheading your garden flowers, keep in mind that there is still a lot of nectar in those fading blossoms. Nectar eating insects will be grateful.

Neotropical Insects NV

10 – Heraclides thoas (Thoas Swallowtail)
15 – Heraclides anchisiades (Ruby-spotted Swallowtail)
20 – Heliconius melpomene (Postman)
70 – Dryas iulia (Julia Longwing)
5 – Catonephele orites (Orange-banded Shoemaker)
70 – Anartia amathea (Scarlet Peacock)
10 – Archeoprepona demophon (One-spotted Prepona)
70 – Caligo memnon (Owl Butterfly)
7 – Eryphanis polyxena (Purple Mort Bleu Owl)
18 – Tithorea harmonia (Harmonia Tigerwing)
5 – 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.