One of our citizen scientist's Ansel Oomenn raised some cabbage whites this summer and noticed how variable the color of their chrysalis can be. Being a little inquisitive, he did a little experiment to see how the colors in the caterpillars environment might affect the color of their chrysalis. This is something called "phenotypic plasticity" (an organisms phenotype - how it looks and behaves - can be altered by its environment) and has been observed in many other butterflies. He placed different colored tissue paper (green or white) or different materials - cardboard and potted plants - at their pupation site (where they turn from a caterpillar to a chrysalis) and he found... it did influence their color!
Leave a Reply.
many diverse authors write these articles