Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Degree Level



Biological Sciences


Westerman, Erica

Committee Member/Reader

Thallapuranam, Suresh

Committee Member/Second Reader

Beaulieu, Jeremy

Committee Member/Third Reader

Sakon, Josh


Around eighty percent of animals go through metamorphosis or drastic phase changes at some point in their life. We know that juvenile interactions can influence adult behavior and mate choice in species that don’t go through metamorphosis, but we know very little about how social interactions during early life stages of animals who go through metamorphosis affect mate choice. To fill this knowledge gap, I used the butterfly Bicyclus anynana to assess whether female butterflies raised in complete isolation from the beginning of their lives exhibit the same mate preference as butterflies raised in normal social conditions. To test this, I used a split family design, and raised sibling butterflies in social groups or isolation. Once adults, both isolated and socially raised females were given the choice of mating with two male butterflies with different manipulated wing patterns, 2 dorsal forewing spots and 4 dorsal forewing spots. I found that female choice of mate based on the number of spots was not different from random. Female butterflies raised in social and isolated conditions mated with both 2 and 4 spot males non- preferentially. These results suggest that social rearing environment during pre-metamorphosis does not play a role on mate choice later in life for adult female butterflies.


Metamorphosis, butterflies, female butterflies, mating