The Effects of Tropical Milkweed (Asclepias curassavica ) Density and Spacing on Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus ) Egg and Larval Distribution

Date
2017
Authors
Rubal, Naomi B.
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Abstract

This research consisted of two experiments to study how density and spacing of Asclepias curassavica (tropical milkweed) would affect Danaus plexippus (monarch butterfly) egg and larva production. In the first experiment involving density of clumped plants there were five treatments; which were one, two, four, eight, and sixteen plants per patch. For the second experiment involving spaced plants there were four plants in each spaced at distances of 0.5, 1, 1.5, 2, or 2.5 m. I counted the number of eggs and larvae every week for eight weeks. There were no significant differences in the mean number eggs or larvae per plant among the density treatments. There was not a significant difference in mean number of eggs or larvae per plant among the spaced treatments. However, significant differences occurred over time in both experiments. My results suggest that spacing and density of A. curassavica plants do not have an effect on D. plexippus egg and larval distribution, however, they do imply that time does impact the number of D. plexippus eggs and larvae found on A. curassavica plants.

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Keywords
Asclepias curassavica, Danaus plexippus, larval distribution, monarch butterfly, oviposition, tropical milkweed
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Department
Integrative Biology