Many species of butterfly larvae feed on vascular plant material, such as leaves, using mandibular mouthparts adapted for chewing through these materials. Larval growth is classified in terms of instars, which are separated by ecdysal events, where the larva molts its outer skin, including a head capsule that contains the mandibles. As larval instars progress in number, the larvae and head capsule increase in size. I hypothesized that as the head capsule size increased, so would the bite size of the larva, producing an isometric relationship. Cabbage butterfly (Pieris rapae) larvae were fed a new cabbage leaf each day and the bite size on the leaf was quantified for each instar using confocal microscopy. After each molting event, the head capsule was collected and imaged with scanning electron microscopy and measured with ImageJ software.
Following this poster display, Valerie will present from 11:30 a.m. - noon. in Science & Nursing room 124.
Valerie Kramer is a junior at Kent State Stark completing a major in Organismal Biology. She is the president of the campus Biology Club and is currently an Undergraduate Research Assistant studying various aspects of butterfly mouth parts. Valerie published one of her research projects in the Journal of the Lepidopterists’ Society in the Fall of 2015 and is working towards a second publication before she graduates. After graduation, she plans to attend graduate school for Conservation based Bio-mimicry.