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The Impact of Seasonality on the Apex Melanization Patterns of Native and Introduced Populations of Pieris Rapae

Pieris rapae, otherwise known as the cabbage white butterfly, exhibit variation in the apex melanization of their upper wings. To visualize these differences we analyzed two geographically separated populations: native and introduced. A common explanation to these visual differences is caused by temperature shifts throughout the four seasons. Previous research relies heavily on the native ranges, so we decided to investigate introduced ranges as well. Using data from iDigBio, we were able to differentiate the geographical regions and seasonality of our specimens. Similar to previous findings, temperature and seasonal change influence melanization and pigmentation in the upper apex spot of the wing. Our findings indicate a significant difference in melanization between spring introduced and native populations, but no significance among fall, winter, and summer introduced and native populations.

Autumn Jones '26, Kaleb Hatt '26, Lily Dufresne '26  
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