The Effect of Different Sitting Patterns on the Death of the Danaus Plexippus

The purpose of this experiment was to determine how the resting pattern the Danaus plexippus uses to occupy a tree trunk affects the amount of death due to overwintering (when butterflies are exposed to precipitation, then the temperature drops and their wings freeze, causing them to eventually die). The independent variable was the resting patterns and the response variable was the number of butterflies that were considered “alive.” There were three patterns tested, each with 50 paper model butterflies. One three-dimensional pattern had the butterflies placed in rows (ten rows, five butterflies in each row), one in a cluster (randomized x-values and y-values), and the final in a diamond (multiple diamonds inside each other). Each trial was exposed to a paint solution ten times and then the amount of dots on each model specimen was counted. A butterfly was considered dead if it contained 77 or more dots, and surviving if it contained less than 77 dots. A One-Way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) test was used to determine if there was any difference in means of those alive between the three patterns. It was found that the different patterns had no effect on the amount of death due to overwintering. This experiment is relevant today because there has recently been an increase in the amount of death of butterflies due to overwintering, and our experiment proved that this is not due to the nesting patterns of the Danaus plexippus.

Research Done By:

Megan Adams
Sterling Heights High School

Sasha Rudow
Sterling Heights High School