Monarch Butterfly

Improved Essays
Differences in thermoregulation patterns observed in the Monarch Butterfly, Danaus plexippus

Many Lepidoptera species thermo-regulate using several patterns, physical and behavioral. These patterns are usually observed as movements from the shade and cooler areas to a place exposed to the sun as well as utilizing mechanical flight to generate heat. However, some species have intermediate behavioral patterns, often a mixture of basking and heat production, also known as endothermy (Kingsolver 1985). For monarch butterflies, the thermoregulation patterns have remained partially unknown resulting in challenges of understanding the physiological and population aspects.
Recent studies have addressed the mystery of types of thermoregulation patterns
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Analysis of the routine allows for understanding what is natural to the course of the specie and time to aptly measure the body heat measurements as done in a previous experiment. There is also then the ability to observe the various ways that the butterfly uses to keep warm/cool when flying. In an environment where the specie is among other populations, the pattern of pre-flight warm up, basking, and flight may change with temperature, habitat, and other environmental factors.
I will use thermistors and place them in the thorax of the butterfly to measure the temperature of the butterfly throughout the day. Thermistors have sensors that are sensitive to thermal changes and can be placed using small beads which are harmless to the specie. Basking postures which have been studied (Vielmeter, 1954) will be used to determine which basking method Danaus plexippus utilize often and to figure out which basking posture is favored to keep the specie warm. Time where the butterfly spends basking in the sun, as well as wing position will be recorded to determine the heat transfer
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K., 1966. Behavioral thermoregulation in butterflies. Ecology 47: 1021-1034
Heinrich, B., 1990. Is ‘Reflectance’ Basking Real? J. exp. Biol. 154: 31-43
Kammer, A. 1970a. Thoracic temperature, shivering, and flight in the Monarch butterfly, Danaus plexippus. Z. Vergl. Physiol. 68:334-344
Kammer, A. 1981. Physiological mechanisms of thermoregulation. In: Insect Thermoregulation, B. Heinrich (ed.), pp. 115-158, John Wiley and Sons, New York.
Kingsolver, J. G., 1983. Thermoregulation and flight in Colias butterflies: elevational patterns and mechanistic limitations. Ecology 64: 534-545.
Vielmetter, W., 1954. Die Temperaturregulation des Kaisermantelsin der Sonnenstrahlung. Naturwissenschaften 41: 535-536
Wasserthal, L, 1975. The role of butterfly wings in regulation of body temperature. J. Insect Physiol. 21: 1921-1930
"What Is A Thermistor? | Omega Engineering". N.p., 2017. Web. 19 Apr.

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