Diapause question

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  • #33076


    BlueSkyBee asks:

    “If someone experienced were to dissect some butterflies, could they possibly tell if they were in diapause, as the reproductive organs would be immature?”

    The answer is… I don’t know. Who can advise?

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  • #34997


    Tonight I was uneasy about parking my car in its usual spot and followed my hunch and parked it around the corner. Last time I did this a number of cars were broken into and had I not followed that hunch mine would have been vandalised too (8 cars in a row had a window smashed to gain entry). It was almost dark tonight (my night vision is very poor), when I looked down and found a male monarch, a little tattered, on the footpath. I have bought it home and placed it in a cool, dark place. I think it’s in diapause as it’s almost hanging/sitting on the flower I placed it on. I’m pretty sure it’s not dead as I have compared its antennae and legs position with a couple of dead butterflies I have kept. It was raining and cold when I found it. Had I not followed my hunch I would not have found it!! The question I am asking is could it be in diapause?Do all butterflies in diapause hang? I will keep it indefinitely, certainly until a sunny day.



    Thanks 🙂



    Here’s some interesting reading for you BlueSkyBee:


    From MonarchWatch:
    31. How do Monarchs know when to migrate?
    We don’t know for sure, but decreasing daylength and temperature probably provide cues. We do know that Monarchs begin to migrate when daylength begins to decline (3 min/day) in late August in the northern states and Canada. The temperatures are also decreasing at this time and the quality of the late season foodplants is changing as well. One, or perhaps an interaction of two or all, of these factors leads to the development of “reproductive diapause”, a condition in which reproduction is suppressed; ovaries in females and seminal vesicles in males are undeveloped. Carbohydrates taken up in nectar are used for maintenance but are also converted to lipids which are stored in an extensive fatbody in the abdomen in Monarchs that are in diapause. Diapause is difficult to “break” in most insects. However, in Monarchs, migrant butterflies can easily be induced to become reproductive by increasing the photoperiod to 14 hrs and raising the temperature to 75-80. The conversion from diapause to females that are fully reproductive, as indicated by egg laying, can be is as little as 6 days. On the other hand, it seems to be difficult to induce diapause and there are no published accounts of the exact conditions required to produce migratory/diapausing butterflies.


    wintering butterflies and diapause

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