PacSci Perspectives


Fresh Sheet – February 9, 2019

Feb 9, 2019

Heliconius melpomene (Postman)

Heliconius melpomene (Postman)

One of the species we are getting this week is Agraulis vanillea, known by its common name as “Gulf Fritillary.” Unlike a lot of our species, this one has populations all the way north into the USA Gulf Region, as well as in Central and South America.

There is a lot going on with this species. It has mass migrations in much of its range, usually with one journey north and one south (different individuals) each year. While none of the migrations are as spectacular as the Midwestern U.S. to Mexico flight of the monarchs, it’s worth noting that migration is found in many insect species.
Its Latin name, Agraulis vanillea, suggests that it might have a vanilla fragrance, but alas, all the articles about it indicate that its scent is much less appealing. It produces a noxious compound when frightened by predators. The male may also produce a pheromone that is used during courtship.
But what makes this butterfly stand out in the exhibit is the silvery markings on its outer wing. With so many metallic pupae, it’s surprising that this one is part of relatively small number of butterflies with metallic markings in adulthood.

Come visit our Tropical Butterfly House soon and see the Gulf Fritillary for yourself. Don’t forget your camera!

Neotropical Insects NV

5 – Heraclides thoas (Thoas Swallowtail)
10 – Heraclides anchisiades (Ruby-spotted Swallowtail)
5 – Heliconius melpomene (Postman)
20 – Dryas Julia (Julia Longwing)
20 – Agraulis vanillae (Gulf Fritillary)
30 – Catonephele orites (Orange-banded Shoemaker)
40 – Anartia amathea (Scarlet Peacock)
20 – Archaeoprepona demophoon (Hubner’s Prepona)
20 – Blis hyperia (Red Rim)
40 – Caligo memnon (Owl Butterfly)
10 – Eryphanes polyxena (Purple Mort Bleu Owl)
20 – Mechanitis polymnia (Polymnia Tigerwing)
20 – Tithorea harmonia (Harmonia Tigerwing)
40 – 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.

Adopt a Butterfly

Love the Tropical Butterfly House? Spread that love by adopting one of our beautiful winged creatures! Starting at just $50, your adoption will help care for the butterflies in the Tropical Butterfly House, and support of the hands-on science programming offered at Pacific Science Center. And, you’ll receive some exclusive benefits for your generosity.