PacSci Perspectives


Fresh Sheet – March 9, 2019

by | Mar 9, 2019

Catonephele orites (Orange-banded Shoemaker)

Catonephele orites (Orange-banded Shoemaker)

In the spirit of our “zoom in” campaign, this week we encourage everyone to take a closer look at our Caligo memnon, or the Owl butterfly, as it is more commonly known. Owl butterflies are perfect candidates for observation while eating, as they are large and tend to sit still for long periods of time while drinking juices from fruit in our feeders.

You can see their tube-shaped proboscis, which they use to drink liquid, as they are not able to eat solid food. However, insects have multiple mouthparts and butterflies have not lost all of them – though some are so modified as to be almost unrecognizable.

The Owl butterfly has a mouthpart – as many other species do as well – called a labial palp. It serves as a sensory receptor for taste, and has become modified to rest near their eye. Sometimes Owls can be seen wiping this short, tiny extremity back and forth over their eyes to clean them, not unlike a windshield wiper.

It really pays to take a closer look.

Come visit our Tropical Butterfly House and spot our Owl butterflies feasting on fruit. Don’t forget to snap a photo!

Neotropical Insects NV

30 – Battus polydamas (Polydamas Swallowtail)
20 – Heraclides thoas (Thoas Swallowtail)
30 – Dryas julia (Julia Longwing)
15 – Catonephele orites (Orange-banded Shoemaker)
70 – Anartia amathea (Scarlet Peacock)
40 – Archaeoprepona demophoon (Hubner’s Prepona)
70 – Caligo memnon (Owl Butterfly)
15 – Eryphanes polyxena (Purple Mort Bleu Owl)
10 – Mechanitis polymnia (Polymnia Tigerwing)

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.