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     Fig 1.  Fore and hind wing of male and female  D. plexippus  from North America and male and female  D. erippus  from South America (from left to right) (photographs by S. Malcolm).

Fig 1. Fore and hind wing of male and female D. plexippus from North America and male and female D. erippus from South America (from left to right) (photographs by S. Malcolm).

I am interested in plant-insect interactions. Specifically, I focus on investigating the connection between insect coloration and mating success in monarch butterflies. My current research (mentor: Dr. Steve Malcolm) will determine the relationship between wing color and its use as a signal for both defense and mate choice by the monarch butterfly Danaus plexippus in North America and its closely related sister species, D. erippus (Figure 1) in South America. My research will thus show a link between the ecology of both defense and mating across landscapes characterized by very different host plant resources in North and South America.