Translator Disclaimer
1 June 2016 A Simple Method for Observing and Measuring Heart Rates in Live Adult Monarchs (Danaus plexippus) and Other Large Butterflies
Author Affiliations +
Abstract

Heart rates of insects reflect the current level of activity and stress individuals are experiencing, and therefore this information can be useful from a research perspective. In Lepidoptera, as with most insects, the ‘heart’ consists of a transverse longitudinal tube that runs along the abdomen, just under the abdominal tergites, which pumps or contracts rhythmically to distribute hemolymph. Here, we describe a simple method we developed to observe heart contractions in adult monarch butterflies, Danaus plexippus. The procedure involves stabilizing the live specimen in a pre-prepared plastic bag, while positioning the abdomen in such a way so that the beating heart can be seen (with magnification) through the intersegmental membranes. With this procedure, no harm comes to the specimen, making the technique useful in both lab and field studies. The technique also requires little equipment, except for a dissecting microscope (or other magnifier). Moreover, the procedure should be useful for monitoring other similarly-sized Lepidoptera, and we confirmed this with a Papilio glaucus specimen. Using this method on 10 male and 10 female monarch specimens from captive-reared stock, we found the resting heart rate was 63 beats/min on average (range: 35–86). This information will be useful for comparative purposes, or as a reference point for future studies of monarch physiology.

Andrew K. Davis and Sherayar Orakzai "A Simple Method for Observing and Measuring Heart Rates in Live Adult Monarchs (Danaus plexippus) and Other Large Butterflies," The Journal of the Lepidopterists' Society 70(2), 96-98, (1 June 2016). https://doi.org/10.18473/lepi.70i2.a3
Received: 17 September 2015; Accepted: 26 October 2015; Published: 1 June 2016
JOURNAL ARTICLE
3 PAGES

This article is only available to subscribers.
It is not available for individual sale.
+ SAVE TO MY LIBRARY

SHARE
ARTICLE IMPACT
RIGHTS & PERMISSIONS
Get copyright permission
Back to Top