Butterfly Research Project

Ron Gatrelle gatrelle at tils-ttr.org
Fri Nov 3 13:56:54 EST 2000

    Most species pupate and emerge at a specific part of day. This can help
in "being there" when it happens -- so you don't spend all day staring at
pre-pupae. I haven't reared Vanessa species for 30+ years and its been 5 or
6 since I reared any J. coenia. So my reason for this post is to ask someone
who knows to let Kathryn in on what time these species do their thing. This
might also help her in determining which species she wants to use. Does she
want to be up at 3 am doing this or 5 in the afternoon.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Richard Worth" <rworth at oda.state.or.us>
To: <kmccann at cvgs.k12.va.us>
Cc: <leps-l at lists.yale.edu>
Sent: Friday, November 03, 2000 12:48 PM
Subject: Re: Butterfly Research Project

> Hi Kathryn,  Your project sounds great.  You might want to try and
> look up references to Dr. Nihjout's work on development of wing
> patterns during metamorphosis.  If I remember correctly, he used
> buckeyes (Junonia coenia)  which do have eyespots on the forewings.
> You are proposing to use painted ladies (Vanessa cardui)  which don't
> have eyespots on the forewings.  They do have a few small, plain
> white dots on a black background at the tip of the forewing, if
> that's what you are referring to.  Otherwise they are really not
> eye-spotted.  Pricking them might yield some interesting results,
> regardless, as long as it doesn't damage them to the point where they
> lose moisture from within and die.  The terms "pupa" and "chrysalis"
> are really synonymous.  The prof you spoke to probably meant that the
> pupa doesn't harden right away since the tissues underneath the
> caterpillar skin, that are exposed after it molts, are still very
> soft and vulnerable.  The wing area is exposed on the surface.  If
> you are looking at the pupa face-to-face from the underside, the left
> wings will be on the right side.  The wing pads are not very visible
> from the top side since they wrap down and around the body.  The wing
> pattern is only visible about a day or so before the butterfly
> emerges.  You will have to get eggs or caterpillars and raise them
> yourself if you want them to pupate in front of you.  This may take 3
> or 4 weeks or more depending on how much food you can find for them
> in the winter.  The caterpillar will attach itself to a twig or jar
> lid or something with silk and hang upside down to shed its skin.  It
> won't spin a silk cocoon like some moths do.  In the case ofthe
> painted lady, the pupa will often times have a gold sheen to it.
> Very pretty.   I hope this helps and if I can find the actual
> reference to this study I will let you know.  Good luck.
> Rich
> >    My name is Kathryn McCann and I am a junior at Central Virginia
> >Governor's School in Lynchburg, Virginia.  I am planning on doing a
> >project with Painted lady butterflies.  My plan was to prick eyespots on
> >left wings of these butterflies approximately six hours after they
> >This would cause the eyespots to either grow, shrink, or disappear.  The
> >right wings would be the controls.  A professor told me that this would
> >possible because the pupae do not form a chrysalis right away and their
> >wings are wrapped around the body on the surface and easily accessible.
> >not exactly sure what to expect, though.  Would I be able to tell the
> >wings from the right?  Are the eyespots visible in the pupal stage?  What
> >will the pupae look like exactly?  How long will it take them to form a
> >chrysalis?  I would really appreciate it if you would answer my
> >Thank you so much for your time and help.  My email address is
> >kmccann at cvgs.k12.va.us
> >Thanks again,
> >Kathryn McCann
> >
> >
> >
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> Richard A. Worth
> Oregon Department of Agriculture
> Plant Division
> rworth at oda.state.or.us
> (503) 986-6461
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