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Rearing the pale grass blue Zizeeria maha (Lepidoptera, Lycaenidae): Toward the establishment of a lycaenid model system for butterfly physiology and genetics

HIYAMA, Atsuki, IWATA, Masaki, OTAKI, Joji M.
Entomological science 2010 v.13 no.3 pp. 293-302
Lycaenidae, Nymphalidae, adults, artificial diets, butterflies, cages, color, eggs, evolution, flowers, genetics, grasses, host plants, larvae, leaves, nutritional support, rearing, wings
Although some nymphalid butterflies have been intensively used to study mechanisms of the colour pattern formation on butterfly wings, lycaenid butterflies are equally attractive, having easily identifiable distinct spot patterns and highly diverse colour patterns among species. To establish a lycaenid model system for physiological and genetic experiments, we here describe a series of methods for rearing the Japanese pale grass blue Zizeeria maha (Kollar) (Lepidoptera, Lycaenidae) in a small laboratory space with an artificial diet for generations. Adult individuals readily mated and oviposited in a small cage with sufficient light, flowers, and host plants. Eggs were harvested in the cage, and larvae were successfully reared to normal adults with an artificial diet made from fresh leaves (AD-F), although they were smaller than those reared with a natural diet. Feeding an artificial diet made from dried leaves (AD-D) frequently produced adult individuals with aberrant wing colour patterns. Using our rearing methods, it is now possible to rear this species in a laboratory and to establish specific strains for physiological and genetic experiments on the wing colour pattern development, diversity, and evolution.