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Nothing in biology makes sense except in light of the whole organism

The fitness consequences of puddling in the pipevine swallowtail

The work of  PERT postdoc Chandreyee Mitra focuses on aspects of the ‘direct benefits’ hypotheses of sexual selection, where nongenetic male traits can affect the fitness of a female or her offspring. We use puddling butterflies as a study system to explore questions on the evolution of male nuptial gifts and female preferences. In these species, males aggregate and feed from puddles, carrion and feces, in order to attain nutrients that are  passed on to females during mating as nuptial gifts. Using the Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor) system, we are asking whether sodium gained by males during puddling is a type of male-provided direct benefit, and whether females prefer males who provide higher quality nuptial gifts. Chandreyee is comentored with Dr. Dan Papaj in EEB.