55 Music Concourse Dr.
Golden Gate Park
San Francisco CA
94118
415.379.8000
Regular Hours:

Daily

9:30 am – 5:00 pm

Sunday

11:00 am – 5:00 pm
Members' Hours:

Tuesday

8:30 – 9:30 am

Sunday

10:00 – 11:00 am
Closures
Notices

The Academy will be closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.

Rainforest will be closed Sep. 9 & 10

Rainforests of the World 

February 12, 2011

Love is in the air (literally!) and on the rocks, and in the water….

So, for all the single ladies who:
• don’t like being inconvenienced by trite ‘pillow talk’ – take a page out of our  Ghost Mantid’s (Phyllocrania paradoxa) book and consume your partner post-amour.

mantid mating

Female mantids often eat males after copulation.

• are interested in guys from South America who can co-parent might want to meet our Turquoise Tanager (Tangara mexicana).

tt-3

Photo by Rachael Tom

Male tanagers help feed chicks and protect the nesting site.

• feel it’s always good to have a ‘spare’ might be interested in our Machete Savane snake (Chironius carinatus).

Photo by Brian Freiermuth

Photo by Brian Freiermuth

Snakes and lizards have a bi-lobed reproductive organ called the hemipene.

• don’t trust a guy with a wandering eye should avoid entanglements with our Panther chameleon (Furcifer pardalis).

sambava2

Photo by Rachael Tom

Chameleon eyes are mounted on turrets that can move independently of each other.

are suckers for sweet talk and don’t mind carrying extra baggage should visit our  Slipper orchid (Paphiopedilum transvaal).

BO02 Paphiopedilum transvaal

Photo by Rachael Tom

The slipper-shaped pouch traps insects so they are forced to climb out collecting and depositing pollen that fertilizes the flower.

try not to get involved with guys that just can’t let go should keep their distance from our Red-eyed tree frog (Agalychnis callidryas).
redeyes

Photo by Brian Freiermuth

Amplexus is a form of pseudocopulation in which the male amphibian grasps the female with his front legs while fertilizing her eggs.

• prefer regurgitated fruit over a dozen roses might want to give our Blue and Gold macaw (Ara araruna) another look.

barney-1

Photo by Rachael Tom

Parrots exchange food via regurgitation as part of a courtship ritual before breeding.


Filed under: Birds,Butterflies,Fish,Herpetiles,Insects & Arachnids,Plants — Vikki McCloskey @ 1:52 pm

November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving from your Rainforest Biologists!

Tis the season to celebrate a bountiful harvest. The rainforest biologists would like to give thanks that we are able to offer a wide variety of high quality food for the animals in our charge. This exhibit contains many different taxa that require many different food items. Here is a sample menu of what some of our rainforest inhabitants will be having for their Thanksgiving weekend….

Macaws
Their diet consists of fruit, nuts, seeds, pellet, and vegetables.

parrot treats

Photo by: Rachael Tom

bowls of produce

Photo by: Rachael Tom

Neotropical Passerines
Their diet consists of fruit, seeds, vegetables, pellet, and protein items.

passerine diet

Photo by: Rachael Tom

We use several feeder insect species, including the larvae stage of mealworms Tenebrio molitor, waxworms Galleria mellonella, and soldier fly Hermetia illucens
feeder insects

Photo by: Rachael Tom

Reptiles
Carnivorous, herbivorous, or omnivorous; reptile diets are as diverse as the reptiles themselves. Some reptiles even eat other reptiles!

iguana diet

Photo by: Rachael Tom

Below are some of the feeder rodents we utilize. We order these frozen from a company that raises them specifically for food and humanely euthanizes them. They are then thawed out over a 24 hour period and then warmed so that the heat-sensing reptiles find them deliciously attractive.
feeder rodents

Photo by: Rachael Tom

Amphibians
Not as diverse in their nutritional requirements as reptiles, most of our amphibians enjoy insects.

Below is the ubiquitous cricket Acheta domesticus, probably the most popular feeder insect. We feed out various stages, from newly hatched (called pinhead) to adults, like below.
cricket!

Photo by: Rachael Tom

Butterflies
Most butterflies are nectar eaters, though the owls and blue morphos like over ripe fruit as well. Here is a Heliconicus ismenius drinking nectar from one of the many nectar-producing plants in the rainforest. We also provide artificial nectar daily along with ripe fruit.

Heliconius ismenius_Rachael Tom

Photo by: Rachael Tom

Fish
Fish eat almost everything that is dropped into their tank!

pellet feed

Photo by: Rachael Tom

Some of the frozen fish we feed to our collection fish and other creatures at the Academy: capelin Mallotus villosus, herring Clupea spp, and trout Oncorhynchus mykiss.
herring, capelin, and trout, oh my

Photo by: Rachael Tom

It takes quite a bit of research and time to create diets that fulfill so many varied nutritional requirements for our hugely diverse live animal collection. Below you can see one of our paradise tanagers Tangara chilensis next to its diet. Enjoy your Thanksgiving everyone!
beautiful paradise

Photo by: Rachael Tom

Filed under: Birds,Butterflies,Fish,Herpetiles,Insects & Arachnids — rainforest1 @ 1:20 pm

June 23, 2010

Butterflies at CAS: Celebrating National Pollinator Week

HAPPY NATIONAL POLLINATOR WEEK! Four years ago the U.S. Senate dubbed the final week of June “National Pollinator Week” to bring attention to the issue of declining pollinator populations. Largely due to habitat loss, pollinators such as butterflies and bees have been dropping. Pollinators not only aid many plants in reproduction, but are also food for other animals. The world would be in a very sad state without them! This blog post is dedicated to sharing information about the butterflies here in our Rainforest dome, what the Academy is doing to support native pollinators and what YOU can do at home to celebrate National Pollinator Week to help preserve pollinators!

epiphytes

Photo by: Rachael Tom

Butterflies in the Rainforest Dome
To celebrate the importance of critical pollinators in all living habitats we are turning our attention to some of the loveliest pollinators in our Rainforest exhibit, the butterflies.  Our butterflies come to us all the way from beautiful Costa Rica. Cooperative butterfly farmers in Costa Rica have obtained special permits to allow them to rear native butterflies on their land. 

epiphytes

Photo by: Chris Andrews

epiphytes

Photo by: Meghan Schurfrieder

This program helps support local farmers and encourages them to protect pollinators and their critical host plants in the surrounding rainforest.  Farmers plant host plants on their land to feed caterpillars.  Once the caterpillars transform to pupae the farmers collect some to send to us. Here are some pictures of Costa Rica Entomological Supply staff displaying pupa collected from local farmers:

epiphytes

Photo by: Kristen Natoli

epiphytes

Photo by: Sarab Stewart

Pupa is the name we give that tricky stage when the caterpillar transforms into a beautiful winged butterfly.  This transformation takes place inside a protective casing called the chrysalis.  The chrysalis keeps the soon to emerge butterflies safe as they are shipped to the Academy each week.

Malachite (Siproeta stelenes) pupa:
epiphytes

Photo by: Rachael Tom

Large Owlet (Opsiphanes tamarindi) pupa:
epiphytes

Photo by: Rachael Tom

At the Academy the pupae are carefully unpacked and placed in temperature / humidity controlled chambers.

epiphytes

Photo by: Sarab Stewart

Each morning biologists check the chambers for emerged adult which are then released into the Rainforest exhibit. Here is a picture of one of our biologists releasing butterflies for the morning:

epiphytes

Photo by: Kristen Natoli

 

By planting native flowering Costa Rican plants and providing various feeding stations throughout our Rainforest Dome, the butterflies here always have nectar and pollen sources.

Golden Helicon (Heliconius hecale) on flowering Hamealia petens:
epiphytes

Photo by: Rachael Tom

Banded Orange Longwing (Dradula phaetusa) on flowering Salvia coccinea:
epiphytes

Photo by: Rachael Tom

Magnificent Owl (Caligo atreus):
epiphytes

Photo by: Sarab Stewart

The butterflies do not reproduce in our exhibit.  We make sure to avoid planting any host plants for their caterpillars to prevent them from reproducing.  Our mini Rainforest is not big enough to accommodate voracious caterpillars munching their way to adulthood!

The Academy and Native Pollinators
In addition to supporting the butterflies on exhibit, the Academy also supports local pollinators in Golden Gate Park. Our Living Roof is home to nine species of native annuals and perennials.

epiphytes

Photo by: Rachael Tom

epiphytes

Photo by: Rachael Tom

Although our Living Roof has only been in existence since 2008, a study by San Francisco State University biology students in 2009 showed that Bay Area native insects were already more prevalent on our roof than other areas in Golden Gate Park. Read all about the study HERE.

Our Business Entrance side (along Middle Drive) also has many Bay Area native plants that pollinators such as bees, butterflies, moths, flies and hummingbirds love!  Plants which include Lupinus spp., California Poppies (Eschscholzia californica) and Monkeyflower (Mimulus spp.) are some of our local pollinators’ favorites!

Here is a picture of one of our many mini gardens along Middle Drive:
epiphytes

Photo by: Rachael Tom

epiphytes

Photo by: Rachael Tom

Check out the corbicula, or, “pollen basket” on the leg of this bumble bee at our garden!:
epiphytes

Photo by: Rachael Tom

What You Can Do
Whether it be in celebration of National Pollinator Week, or because you just love pollinators as much as we do, try planting some flowering Bay Area native plants in your backyard, sidewalk planters, balcony, or front lawn! Planting native species not only attract native wildlife but are also less maintenance compared to plants that are normally grown in different climates. Here are some of the plants that do well in areas of San Francisco:

Bees cannot resist lovely Seaside Buckwheat (Eriogonum latifolium):
epiphytes

Photo by: Rachael Tom

Hummingbirds adore Monkeyflower (Mimulus aurantiacus ):
epiphytes

Photo by: Rachael Tom

Not just an eye-pleaser, Ceanothus spp. are also loved by pollinators:
epiphytes

Photo by: Rachael Tom

Be sure consider some of the following when choosing your plants:
How much sun/shade does your area have?
What kind of soil do you have?
How hot does your area get?
Pollinator Partnership is a great resource to get started.
With our help, pollinators will be here to stay! In the spirit of National Pollinator Week, meet our butterflies up close in the Rainforest Dome, and put some flowering native plants in the ground for the wonderful pollinators at home!


Filed under: Butterflies,Plants — Paphiopedilum @ 8:57 pm

March 15, 2010

Rainforest FAQs

If you’ve ever had any questions about our rainforest and the organisms that live there, this is YOUR blog post! The following questions are some of the most common that our biologists hear:

What is the temperature and the humidity in the rainforest?
We aim to keep temperatures between 75-80 F and humidity between 65-80%. The plants and animals in our exhibit depend on it!

Are the two strawberry dart frogs (Oophaga pumilio) next to the railing real?
Next to the railing: no. In our dart frog exhibit on the Costa Rica level: yes! As you walk up the rainforest ramp from the Borneo to the Madagascar level, you will see a mini exhibit which demonstrates how some animals in the rainforest have adapted to live amongst bromeliads. As the sign states, animals such as monkeys, birds and strawberry dart frogs utilize the water that accumulates in their cup and leaf axils. With a focus on strawberry dart frog reproduction, the exhibit shows that those small pools of water in bromeliads serve as excellent nursuries for strawberry dart frog tadpoles. During the Academy’s brief period at Howard Street, our strawberry dart frogs successfully bred that way!

Photo by: Rachael Tom

Photo by: Rachael Tom

Here is a picture of one of our live strawberry dart frogs, which you may be able to find with a keen eye in our dart frog exhibit on the Costa Rica level:

Photo by: Rachael Tom

Why are there different types of animals in one tank? Are the smaller animals food for the bigger animals?
Many of our exhibits house multiple species because that is how they occur in the wild. Although many animals have adapted to live in specific areas in a rainforest, there is usually overlap between different species. This is what allows them to be compatible in an exhibit. As long as those animals have enough space, hiding places, food and water, they seem to live just fine together. The animals in our terrariums are typically fed fruit flies, crickets, kingworms, silk worms and hornworms. The snakes in the rainforest are fed anoles, mice and young rats. The animals in our aquariums and the Flooded Amazon are fed fish flake and pellets, algae wafers, black and blood worms, brine shrimp, chopped fish and produce.

What do you feed the birds and the butterflies?
Our birds are fed a variety of fruits and vegetables, insects, pellet bird diet, seeds and nectar. Our butterflies drink nectar as well, which you can see when they insert their probosics into our flowers and nectar feeding stations. They use their proboscis like a straw to draw out liquids. Some of our butterflies also eat pollen. There are five feeding stations throughout the exhibit which we change twice daily. Check out this enthusiastic bird diet:

Photo by: Rachael Tom

What do the bats eat?
Our Lesser Dog Faced Fruit Bats (Cynopterus brachyotis) are provided with nectar, as well as a variety of fruits which include: bananas, melons, grapes, apples, pears and oranges. We also throw in a couple of veggies which they occasionally munch on. You may see them eating throughout the day on large chunks of fruit which hang from the vines in their cave, or using their furry bellies as plates to rest pieces of fruit on them as they hang and eat.

How long do the butterflies live?
Our butterflies live approximately 1-2 weeks as adults, but our Longwing species will live up to a few months as long as they have a pollen source.

Photo by: Rachael Tom

Why do the macaws bicker with each other?
This is the case with all animals that establish hierarchy and territory, and parrots are one group of animals where bickering is a common and completely natural process. For the most part, these scuffles last only a couple of minutes and then both our macaws will resume preening, chewing, eating, etc. Often times you may see them preening each other or even regurgitating into each other’s mouths which is a sign of companionship:

Photo by: Rachael Tom

How many species of plants are in the rainforest?
There are several hundred species of plants in our rainforest… and counting!

What kind of tree is the one with green fruit?
We have two Saba Nut trees (Pachira insignis) in our rainforest exhibit which produce green football shaped fruit year-round. In its native habitat (Central and South America), the fruit are a food source for people and animals. It is said to have a mild peanut and chestnut flavor.

Photo by: Rachael Tom

What do you feed the Tropical Pitcher Plants?
We actually don’t feed them; our pitcher plants are trapping insects all on their own! Carnivorous plants have adapted to survive in low-nutrient environments and consume insects to obtain the nutrients they need. To learn more about how they trap prey, be sure to check out our enlarged pitcher plant replica across the elevators on the Borneo level.

Photo by: Rachael Tom

That fish is huge! What kind is it?
The largest fish we have in the Flooded Amazon is the Arapaima (Arapaima gigas). Ours are 6-7 feet long, although they can reach lengths up to 10 feet long. The longest lived Arapaima at the Academy lived to be 18 years old. Despite a diet primarily composed of fish, they have been known to be opportunistic predators and will eat just about anything that can fit in their mouths. An interesting fact about Arapaimas is that they are air breathers, and must come to the surface for oxygen every 10-20 minutes.

Photo by: Rachael Tom

Photo by: Rachael Tom

We hope this gives you a little more insight about our awesome rainforest and those that dwell in it. If we haven’t answered one of your questions, please leave us a comment here and we’ll do our best to answer it!


Filed under: Birds,Butterflies,Fish,Herpetiles,Plants — rainforest @ 6:16 am

January 8, 2010

Behind the scenes in the rainforest

There are many different aspects to the work that we do in the rainforest bola. Click below to check out a fantastic video produced by our Science In Action team and hear what the biologists have to say about the circle of life in this exhibit.

<

Behind the Scenes of the Academy’s Rainforest Exhibit from Science in Action on Vimeo.

>


Filed under: Birds,Butterflies,Fish,Herpetiles,Plants — rainforest1 @ 10:07 am

The Rainforest Team

   

Academy biologists share the inside scoop on the Academy's 'Rainforest of the World' exhibit.

Academy Blogroll