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Seasonal phenotypic plasticity and potential trade-offs in wing melanization and adult size in the green-veined white butterfly (Pieris napi)

Popkin, M.E. (2015) Seasonal phenotypic plasticity and potential trade-offs in wing melanization and adult size in the green-veined white butterfly (Pieris napi). Master's Thesis / Essay, Biology.

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Abstract

The green-veined white butterfly, Pieris napi, is a widely distributed generalist species that thrives in a variety of environments with high seasonality. Seasonal polyphenism of wing melanization in other Pieridae has been suggested to assist in seasonal thermoregulation, but little research has been dedicated to phenotypic plasticity in P. napi despite its relative success in areas where other butterfly species have experienced considerable declines due to climate change and human activities. Additionally, very few studies have explored the seasonal plasticity in adult size, the potential role that size may play in butterfly thermoregulation, and whether resource allocation trade-offs occur in environmental conditions that favor the development of certain thermoregulatory traits. This study uses field data to determine whether adult size and/or wing melanization show signs of seasonal phenotypic plasticity and are potentially adaptive to thermoregulation in Pieris napi while also addressing whether resource allocation trade-offs may occur in the development of these two traits. Results suggest that seasonal plasticity does occur in size and wing melanization, with adult butterflies in the late summer exhibiting smaller sizes and less melanization compared to early spring adult butterflies. While results indicate that these traits may indeed play a role in thermoregulation, no resource allocation tradeoffs were found for size and melanization.

Item Type: Thesis (Master's Thesis / Essay)
Degree programme: Biology
Thesis type: Master's Thesis / Essay
Language: English
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2018 08:09
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2018 08:09
URI: http://fse.studenttheses.ub.rug.nl/id/eprint/13452

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