Date of Award

Summer 8-2020

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Biological Sciences


Biological Sciences

Major Professor

Dr. Carla Penz

Second Advisor

Dr. Philip DeVries


Ventral hind wing eyespots are prominent pattern elements in Brassolini butterflies, likely functioning in predator-prey interactions and reproductive activities. Caligo and Opsiphanes differ in male mate-seeking behaviors and it has been suggested that Caligo females use the male cua1 eyespot as a mate-locating cue, but Opsiphanes females do not seem to do so. We predict Caligo males should have larger eyespots than congeneric females, but the sexes would not differ in eyespot size in Opsiphanes. Our analyses supported both these predictions. Displacing the eyespot to the center of the wing makes eyespots more conspicuous, we asked if eyespot position and size covaried across the Brassolini phylogeny. While we did observe a positive relationship, we found these two variables contained significant phylogenetic signal. Our study suggests that the cua1 eyespot performs multiple functions in Brassolini and might be evolving under natural and sexual selection.


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