How the Morphology of the Proboscis of Monarch Butterflies (Danaus plexippus) is Affected by the Season in which They Hatch

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Daniel Mounir
Patrick Guerra


By Daniel Mounir, Biological Sciences

Advisor: Patrick Guerra

Presentation ID: 153

Abstract: In the different seasons the monarch butterfly hatches from its cocoon, the way a monarch butterfly feeds is always the same. Monarchs use their proboscis to drink nectar from flowers and other plants to obtain the sugars and nutrients they need. The proboscis is to halves of a tube held together by the saliva of the butterfly to make a full tube. In this study, dead monarchs collected from either summer or fall were soaked in water for two hours to loosen the proboscis. After extension of the proboscis using pins and staples, they were left to re-harden over days. The proboscis was then put next to a mini ruler to scale and they were imaged under an imaging microscope. Image J measuring software is being used to scale measurements and trace proboscis due to the uneven stretching nature of the proboscises. It is hypothesized that the proboscises on summer butterflies will be longer than those of their fall counterparts due to larger foliage and bigger petals on flowers in the summer. No results have been found yet for the project, but imaging and tests will be run to either prove or disprove the hypothesis.

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The Natural World