Reproductive Diapause is a trait commonly used by butterflies and other insects to survive harsh conditions in the more temperate regions of the world. In temperate species, diapause is triggered by various environmental factors including changes in temperature, photoperiod, or humidity, and is commonly used to survive colder climates brought on by winter. While diapause is well-studied in temperate species of insects, there is very little known about the usage of diapause in tropical species. This research is a preliminary to find possibilities of reproductive diapause in neotropical butterflies in the Madre De Dios Region of Southeastern Peru. This region has distinct wet and dry seasons, impacting the numerous organisms found there. For many species of Lepidoptera present in this region, necessary host plants may dry up or become otherwise inaccessible during the dry season, creating unfavorable conditions during this time of the year. Individual butterflies were collected during the onset of the dry season in June and July and dissected to analyze for signs of reproductive diapause. Potential signs of reproductive diapause were seen in Eunica pusilla (Nymphalidae: Biblidinae), and up to 6 species of Satyrinae. This signifies a possibility of reproductive diapause being used as a strategy in neotropical butterflies, a previously unknown phenomenon in any insect occurring in the Amazon Rainforest.
University / Institution: Utah Valley University
Format: In Person
SESSION B (10:45AM-12:15PM)
Area of Research: Science & Technology
Faculty Mentor: T. Heath Ogden