Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department


Committee Chair/Advisor

Adler, Peter H

Committee Member

Wheeler, Jr. , Alfred G

Committee Member

Tonkyn , David


Three species of butterflies--eastern tiger swallowtail (Papilio glaucus L.), monarch (Danaus plexippus L.), and painted lady (Vanessa cardui L.)--were used to investigate the effect that exposing multiple regions of the proboscis to fluid has on feeding rate. Although the lepidopteran proboscis historically has been considered a sealed tube with a specialized region near the tip for fluid uptake, droplets of 1% sucrose solution were shown to enter multiple locations along the proboscis. Feeding experiments were conducted comparing fluid uptake rates of butterflies with their proboscises either fully or partially submerged in 1% or 15% sucrose solutions. Only one significant relationship was found. Male tiger swallowtails exhibited a faster feeding rate with the 1% sucrose solution than did females, suggesting that within nectar-feeding species with males that also exhibit puddling behavior, males are capable of faster fluid uptake than females. No significant differences were found for feeding rate in relation to the amount of the proboscis exposed to fluid. Instead, interactions among butterfly size (proboscis length, forewing length, and possibly sucking pump size), gender, and the amount of proboscis exposed to fluid compared to feeding rate should be investigated. Further examination of these variables may provide valuable insights into the relation between fluid uptake of the lepidopteran proboscis and fitness.

Included in

Entomology Commons



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