Does Marking With DayGlo ECO Aurora Pink Pigment Powder Affect the Development or Survival of Monarch Caterpillars?
In order to understand insect movement, it is common to externally mark insects with fluorescent powder to track their behavior. However, it is important to know whether marking is detrimental to insect health. This study was conducted to determine whether marking with fluorescent powder is safe for use in movement studies of monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) larvae. Larvae were exposed to DayGlo ECO Aurora Pink Pigment powder once during each instar to determine whether powder exposure affected their development and survival. One hundred 1st in stars were divided evenly into a control and treatment group; the treatment group was dusted with fluorescent powder. Larvae were reared to adulthood on Asclepius syriaca; development and survival of each individual was monitored. Larval, pupal, and adult measurements were recorded for each individual. Adult butterflies were observed to determine whether they mated and laid viable eggs. We found no significant differences between treatment and control groups with respect to survival. Similarly, there were no significant differences in larval, pupal or adult measurements. Surviving adults mated successfully and laid viable eggs. In summary, DayGlo ECO Aurora Pink Pigment powder marking had no adverse effects on larval development or survival.