Kathleen L Prudic
- Assistant Professor, Citizen and Data Science
- Member of the Graduate Faculty
Kathleen ‘Katy’ Prudic is an entomologist interested in discovering how ecological and evolutionary interactions promote biodiversity and how they can inform conservation decision making.
She is co-director of eButterfly, an online citizen science platform that harnesses the observations of thousands of butterfly enthusiasts across the globe to understand how and when butterflies and other pollinators react to environmental changes.
Her research encompasses precision conservation, human-computer networks, and data science.
Her discoveries have been published in as Science, Proceedings of the National Academy, Proceedings of the Royal Society B and Behavioral Ecology and covered by Associated Press, BBC, CBC, National Geographic and Smithsonian Magazine.
She teaches Sustainable Earth (RNR 150) online and R Programming (RNR 620) for the School of Natural Resources and the Environment at Arizona.
- Ph.D. Evolution and Ecology, Minor in Entomology
- University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, United States
- Warning and Deception: Chemical, Behavioral, and Phylogenetic Studies of Aposematic Coloration and Mimicry
- B.S. Evolution and Ecology
- University of California, Davis, Davis, California, United States
- Mimicry between California Sister and Lorquini's Admiral butterflies
- School of Natural Resources and the Environment, University of Arizona (2019 - Ongoing)
- Entomology, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, University of Arizona (2016 - 2019)
- Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Arizona (2015)
- Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, Oregon State University (2014 - 2015)
- Integrative Biology, Oregon State University (2012 - 2015)
- Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Yale University (2011 - 2012)
- College of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Yale University (2010 - 2011)
- Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Yale University (2007 - 2010)
Biodiversity, Citizen Science, Conservation, Climate Change, Data Science, Ecology, Plant-Animal Interactions, R Programming, Wildlife
Biodiversity, Butterflies, Citizen Science, Climate Change, Conservation, Ecology, Machine Learning, Plant-Animal Interactions, Pollinators, Research Computing, Restoration, Wildlife
Independent StudyRNR 499 (Fall 2021)
Sustainable EarthRNR 150C1 (Fall 2021)
DissertationRNR 920 (Spring 2021)
Global SustainabilityRNR 101 (Spring 2021)
InternshipRNR 493 (Spring 2021)
InternshipRNR 593 (Spring 2021)
Sustainable EarthRNR 150C1 (Spring 2021)
ThesisRNR 910 (Spring 2021)
Working with RRNR 620 (Spring 2021)
Independent StudyRNR 599 (Fall 2020)
InternshipRNR 393 (Fall 2020)
Sustainable EarthRNR 150C1 (Fall 2020)
ThesisRNR 910 (Fall 2020)
InternshipRNR 393 (Spring 2020)
InternshipRNR 493 (Spring 2020)
Sustainable EarthRNR 150C1 (Spring 2020)
Working with RRNR 620 (Spring 2020)
InternshipRNR 393 (Fall 2019)
InternshipRNR 493 (Fall 2019)
ResearchRNR 900 (Fall 2019)
Sustainable EarthRNR 150C1 (Fall 2019)
Natural Resources SeminrRNR 496B (Spring 2019)
Insects and CultureENTO 160D1 (Fall 2018)
Insects and CultureENTO 160D1 (Summer I 2018)
Insects and CultureENTO 160D1 (Summer I 2017)
Insects and CultureENTO 160D1 (Summer I 2016)
- Prudic, K. L., Timmermann, B. N., Papaj, D. R., Ritland, D. B., & Oliver, J. C. (2019). Mimicry in viceroy butterflies is dependent on abundance of the model queen butterfly. Communications Biology, 2, 68.More infoMimics should not exist without their models, yet often they do. In the system involving queen and viceroy butterflies, the viceroy is both mimic and co-model depending on the local abundance of the model, the queen. Here, we integrate population surveys, chemical analyses, and predator behavior assays to demonstrate how mimics may persist in locations with low-model abundance. As the queen becomes less locally abundant, the viceroy becomes more chemically defended and unpalatable to predators. However, the observed changes in viceroy chemical defense and palatability are not attributable to differing host plant chemical defense profiles. Our results suggest that mimetic viceroy populations are maintained at localities of low-model abundance through an increase in their toxicity. Sharing the burden of predator education in some places but not others may also lower the fitness cost of warning signals thereby supporting the origin and maintenance of aposematism.
- Prudic, K. L., Wilson, J. K., Toshack, M. C., Gerst, K. L., Rosemartin, A., Crimmins, T. M., & Oliver, J. C. (2019). Creating the Urban Farmer's Almanac with Citizen Science Data. Insects, 10(9).More infoAgriculture has long been a part of the urban landscape, from gardens to small scale farms. In recent decades, interest in producing food in cities has grown dramatically, with an estimated 30% of the global urban population engaged in some form of food production. Identifying and managing the insect biodiversity found on city farms is a complex task often requiring years of study and specialization, especially in urban landscapes which have a complicated tapestry of fragmentation, diversity, pollution, and introduced species. Supporting urban growers with relevant data informs insect management decision-making for both growers and their neighbors, yet this information can be difficult to come by. In this study, we introduced several web-based citizen science programs that can connect growers with useful data products and people to help with the who, what, where, and when of urban insects. Combining the power of citizen science volunteers with the efforts of urban farmers can result in a clearer picture of the diversity and ecosystem services in play, limited insecticide use, and enhanced non-chemical alternatives. Connecting urban farming practices with citizen science programs also demonstrates the ecosystem value of urban agriculture and engages more citizens with the topics of food production, security, and justice in their communities.
- Tyler, F., Larrivée, M., Prudic, K. L., & Ryan Norris, D. (2019). Estimating the annual distribution of monarch butterflies in Canada over 16 years using citizen science data. FACETS, 4(1), 238-253.
- Bhardwaj, S., Prudic, K. L., Bear, A., Dasgupta, M., Wasik, B. R., Tong, X., Cheong, W. F., Wenk, M. R., & Monteiro, A. (2018). Sex Differences in 20-Hydroxyecdysone Hormone Levels Control Sexual Dimorphism in Bicyclus anynana Wing Patterns. MOLECULAR BIOLOGY AND EVOLUTION, 35(2), 465-472.
- Dornelas, M., Antao, L. H., Moyes, F., Bates, A. E., Magurran, A. E., Adam, D., Akhmetzhanova, A. A., Appeltans, W., Arcos, J. M., Arnold, H., Ayyappan, N., Badihi, G., Baird, A. H., Barbosa, M., Barreto, T. E., Baessler, C., Bellgrove, A., Belmaker, J., Benedetti-Cecchi, L., , Bett, B. J., et al. (2018). BioTIME: A database of biodiversity time series for the Anthropocene. GLOBAL ECOLOGY AND BIOGEOGRAPHY, 27(7), 760-786.
- Long, E. C., Brown, B. V., Oliver, J. C., & Prudic, K. L. (2018). Comparisons of Citizen Science Data-Gathering Approaches to Evaluate Urban Butterfly Diversity. Insects, 9(4), 186. doi:10.3390/insects9040186
- Oliver, J. C., Prudic, K. L., & Clement, W. L. (2018). Exploring how climate will impact plant-insect distributions and interactions using open data and informatics. Teaching Issues and Experiments in Ecology, 14.
- Prudic, K. L., Oliver, J. C., Brown, B. V., & Long, E. C. (2018). Comparisons of Citizen Science Data-Gathering Approaches to Evaluate Urban Butterfly Diversity. Insects, 9(4).More infoBy 2030, ten percent of earth's landmass will be occupied by cities. Urban environments can be home to many plants and animals, but surveying and estimating biodiversity in these spaces is complicated by a heterogeneous built environment where access and landscaping are highly variable due to human activity. Citizen science approaches may be the best way to assess urban biodiversity, but little is known about their relative effectiveness and efficiency. Here, we compare three techniques for acquiring data on butterfly (Lepidoptera: Rhopalocera) species richness: trained volunteer Pollard walks, Malaise trapping with expert identification, and crowd-sourced iNaturalist observations. A total of 30 butterfly species were observed; 27 (90%) were recorded by Pollard walk observers, 18 (60%) were found in Malaise traps, and 22 (73%) were reported by iNaturalist observers. Pollard walks reported the highest butterfly species richness, followed by iNaturalist and then Malaise traps during the four-month time period. Pollard walks also had significantly higher species diversity than Malaise traps.
- Bear, A., Prudic, K. L., & Monteiro, A. (2017). Steroid hormone signaling during development has a latent effect on adult male sexual behavior in the butterfly Bicyclus anynana. PLOS ONE, 12(3).
- Bear, A., Prudic, K. L., & Monteiro, A. (2017). Steroid hormone signaling during development has a latent effect on adult male sexual behavior in the butterfly Bicyclus anynana. PloS one, 12(3), e0174403.More infoIt is well established that steroid hormones regulate sexual behavior in vertebrates via organizational and activational effects. However, whether the organizational/activational paradigm applies more broadly to the sexual behavior of other animals such as insects is not well established. Here we describe the hormonal regulation of a sexual behavior in the seasonally polyphenic butterfly Bicyclus anynana is consistent with the characteristics of an organizational effect. By measuring hormone titer levels, quantifying hormone receptor gene expression in the brain, and performing hormone manipulations, we demonstrate steroid hormone signaling early in pupal development has a latent effect on adult male sexual behavior in B. anynana. These findings suggest the organizational/activational paradigm may be more highly conserved across animal taxa than previously thought.
- Bhardwaj, S., Prudic, K. L., Bear, A., Gupta, M. D., Wasik, B. R., Tong, X., Cheong, W. F., Wenk, M. R., & Monteiro, A. (2017). Sex differences in 20-hydroxyecdysone hormone levels control sexual dimorphism in Bicyclus anynana butterfly wing patterns. Molecular Biology and Evolution.
- Prudic, K. L., McFarland, K. P., Oliver, J. C., Hutchinson, R. A., Long, E. C., Kerr, J. T., & Larrivée, M. (2017). eButterfly: Leveraging Massive Online Citizen Science for Butterfly Consevation. Insects, 8(2).More infoData collection, storage, analysis, visualization, and dissemination are changing rapidly due to advances in new technologies driven by computer science and universal access to the internet. These technologies and web connections place human observers front and center in citizen science-driven research and are critical in generating new discoveries and innovation in such fields as astronomy, biodiversity, and meteorology. Research projects utilizing a citizen science approach address scientific problems at regional, continental, and even global scales otherwise impossible for a single lab or even a small collection of academic researchers. Here we describe eButterfly an integrative checklist-based butterfly monitoring and database web-platform that leverages the skills and knowledge of recreational butterfly enthusiasts to create a globally accessible unified database of butterfly observations across North America. Citizen scientists, conservationists, policy makers, and scientists are using eButterfly data to better understand the biological patterns of butterfly species diversity and how environmental conditions shape these patterns in space and time. eButterfly in collaboration with thousands of butterfly enthusiasts has created a near real-time butterfly data resource producing tens of thousands of observations per year open to all to share and explore.
- Monteiro, A., Tong, X., Bear, A., Liew, S. F., Bhardwaj, S., Wasik, B. R., Dinwiddie, A., Bastianelli, C., Cheong, W. F., Wenk, M. R., Cao, H., & Prudic, K. L. (2015). Differential Expression of Ecdysone Receptor Leads to Variation in Phenotypic Plasticity across Serial Homologs. PLOS GENETICS, 11(9).
- Monteiro, A., Tong, X., Bear, A., Liew, S. F., Bhardwaj, S., Wasik, B. R., Dinwiddie, A., Bastianelli, C., Cheong, W. F., Wenk, M. R., Cao, H., & Prudic, K. L. (2015). Differential Expression of Ecdysone Receptor Leads to Variation in Phenotypic Plasticity across Serial Homologs. PLoS genetics, 11(9), e1005529.More infoBodies are often made of repeated units, or serial homologs, that develop using the same core gene regulatory network. Local inputs and modifications to this network allow serial homologs to evolve different morphologies, but currently we do not understand which modifications allow these repeated traits to evolve different levels of phenotypic plasticity. Here we describe variation in phenotypic plasticity across serial homologous eyespots of the butterfly Bicyclus anynana, hypothesized to be under selection for similar or different functions in the wet and dry seasonal forms. Specifically, we document the presence of eyespot size and scale brightness plasticity in hindwing eyespots hypothesized to vary in function across seasons, and reduced size plasticity and absence of brightness plasticity in forewing eyespots hypothesized to have the same function across seasons. By exploring the molecular and physiological causes of this variation in plasticity across fore and hindwing serial homologs we discover that: 1) temperature experienced during the wandering stages of larval development alters titers of an ecdysteroid hormone, 20-hydroxyecdysone (20E), in the hemolymph of wet and dry seasonal forms at that stage; 2) the 20E receptor (EcR) is differentially expressed in the forewing and hindwing eyespot centers of both seasonal forms during this critical developmental stage; and 3) manipulations of EcR signaling disproportionately affected hindwing eyespots relative to forewing eyespots. We propose that differential EcR expression across forewing and hindwing eyespots at a critical stage of development explains the variation in levels of phenotypic plasticity across these serial homologues. This finding provides a novel signaling pathway, 20E, and a novel molecular candidate, EcR, for the regulation of levels of phenotypic plasticity across body parts or serial homologs.
- Prudic, K. L., Stoehr, A. M., Wasik, B. R., & Monteiro, A. (2015). Eyespots deflect predator attack increasing fitness and promoting the evolution of phenotypic plasticity. PROCEEDINGS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY B-BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES, 282(1798).
- Prudic, K. L., Stoehr, A. M., Wasik, B. R., & Monteiro, A. (2015). Eyespots deflect predator attack increasing fitness and promoting the evolution of phenotypic plasticity. Proceedings. Biological sciences, 282(1798), 20141531.More infoSome eyespots are thought to deflect attack away from the vulnerable body, yet there is limited empirical evidence for this function and its adaptive advantage. Here, we demonstrate the conspicuous ventral hindwing eyespots found on Bicyclus anynana butterflies protect against invertebrate predators, specifically praying mantids. Wet season (WS) butterflies with larger, brighter eyespots were easier for mantids to detect, but more difficult to capture compared to dry season (DS) butterflies with small, dull eyespots. Mantids attacked the wing eyespots of WS butterflies more frequently resulting in greater butterfly survival and reproductive success. With a reciprocal eyespot transplant, we demonstrated the fitness benefits of eyespots were independent of butterfly behaviour. Regardless of whether the butterfly was WS or DS, large marginal eyespots pasted on the hindwings increased butterfly survival and successful oviposition during predation encounters. In previous studies, DS B. anynana experienced delayed detection by vertebrate predators, but both forms suffered low survival once detected. Our results suggest predator abundance, identity and phenology may all be important selective forces for B. anynana. Thus, reciprocal selection between invertebrate and vertebrate predators across seasons may contribute to the evolution of the B. anynana polyphenism.
- Oliver, J. C., Ramos, D., Prudic, K. L., & Monteiro, A. (2013). Temporal gene expression variation associated with eyespot size plasticity in Bicyclus anynana. PloS one, 8(6), e65830.More infoSeasonal polyphenism demonstrates an organism's ability to respond to predictable environmental variation with alternative phenotypes, each presumably better suited to its respective environment. However, the molecular mechanisms linking environmental variation to alternative phenotypes via shifts in development remain relatively unknown. Here we investigate temporal gene expression variation in the seasonally polyphenic butterfly Bicyclus anynana. This species shows drastic changes in eyespot size depending on the temperature experienced during larval development. The wet season form (larvae reared over 24°C) has large ventral wing eyespots while the dry season form (larvae reared under 19°C) has much smaller eyespots. We compared the expression of three proteins, Notch, Engrailed, and Distal-less, in the future eyespot centers of the two forms to determine if eyespot size variation is associated with heterochronic shifts in the onset of their expression. For two of these proteins, Notch and Engrailed, expression in eyespot centers occurred earlier in dry season than in wet season larvae, while Distal-less showed no temporal difference between the two forms. These results suggest that differences between dry and wet season adult wings could be due to a delay in the onset of expression of these eyespot-associated genes. Early in eyespot development, Notch and Engrailed may be functioning as repressors rather than activators of the eyespot gene network. Alternatively, temporal variation in the onset of early expressed genes between forms may have no functional consequences to eyespot size regulation and may indicate the presence of an 'hourglass' model of development in butterfly eyespots.
- Noge, K., Prudic, K. L., & Becerra, J. X. (2012). Defensive roles of (E)-2-alkenals and related compounds in heteroptera. Journal of chemical ecology, 38(8), 1050-6.More infoWe examined whether shared volatiles found in various heteropteran species and developmental stages function to repel predators. The nymphal dorsal abdominal gland secretions of Riptortus pedestris (Heteroptera: Alydidae) and Thasus acutangulus (Heteroptera: Coreidae), and the metathoracic scent gland secretion of Euschistus biformis (Heteroptera: Pentatomidae) adults were identified by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS). (E)-2-Hexenal, 4-oxo-(E)-2-hexenal (4-OHE), and (E)-2-octenal were found in all three species and deemed likely candidates for repelling predators. In addition to (E)-2-alkenals, the adult E. biformis secreted (E)-2-hexenyl acetate, (E)-2-octenyl acetate, and four hydrocarbons. We evaluated the potential predator repellent properties of these compounds and compound blends against a generalist, cosmopolitan insect predator, the Chinese praying mantid (Mantodea: Mantidae: Tenodera aridifolia sinensis). Mantids that experienced (E)-2-hexenal, (E)-2-octenal, and (E)-2-octenyl acetate moved away from the site of interaction, while 4-OHE and (E)-2-hexenyl acetate did not affect mantid behavior. The compound blends did not have additive or synergistic repellency effects on predator behavior. Compound repellency was not related to compound volatility. Instead, the repellent effect is likely related to predator olfaction, and the affinity of each compound to receptors on the antennae. Our results also suggest the repellents might intensify the visual defensive signals of aposematism (T. acutangulus nymphs) and mimicry (R. pedestris nymphs) in heteropteran bugs.
- Prudic, K. L., Jeon, C., Cao, H., & Monteiro, A. (2011). Developmental plasticity in sexual roles of butterfly species drives mutual sexual ornamentation. Science (New York, N.Y.), 331(6013), 73-5.More infoCurrent explanations for why sexual ornaments are found in both sexes include genetic correlation, same sex competition, and mutual mate choice. In this study, we report developmental plasticity in mating behavior as induced by temperature during development in the butterfly Bicyclus anynana. Males and females reciprocally change their sexual roles depending on their larval rearing temperatures. This switch is correlated with a change in mating benefits to females and costs to males. The discrete seasonal environments, wet season and dry season, are known to produce the two developmental forms and as a consequence impose alternating, symmetrical patterns of sexual selection, one season on male ornaments, the following season on female ornaments. Thus, reciprocal selection through time may result in mutual sexual ornamentation.
- Oliver, J. C., & Prudic, K. L. (2010). Are mimics monophyletic? The necessity of phylogenetic hypothesis tests in character evolution. BMC evolutionary biology, 10, 239.More infoThe processes governing the origin and maintenance of mimetic phenotypes can only be understood in a phylogenetic framework. Phylogenetic estimates of evolutionary relationships can provide a context for analyses of character evolution; however, when phylogenetic estimates conflict, rigorous analyses of alternative evolutionary histories are necessary to determine the likelihood of a specific history giving rise to the observed pattern of diversity. The polyphenic butterfly Limenitis arthemis provides a case in point. This species is comprised of three lineages, two of which are mimetic and one of which is non-mimetic. Conflicting estimates of the relationships among these three lineages requires direct evaluation of the alternative hypotheses of mimicry evolution.
- Prudic, K. L., & Oliver, J. C. (2008). Once a Batesian mimic, not always a Batesian mimic: mimic reverts back to ancestral phenotype when the model is absent. Proceedings. Biological sciences, 275(1639), 1125-32.More infoBatesian mimics gain protection from predation through the evolution of physical similarities to a model species that possesses anti-predator defences. This protection should not be effective in the absence of the model since the predator does not identify the mimic as potentially dangerous and both the model and the mimic are highly conspicuous. Thus, Batesian mimics should probably encounter strong predation pressure outside the geographical range of the model species. There are several documented examples of Batesian mimics occurring in locations without their models, but the evolutionary responses remain largely unidentified. A mimetic species has four alternative evolutionary responses to the loss of model presence. If predation is weak, it could maintain its mimetic signal. If predation is intense, it is widely presumed the mimic will go extinct. However, the mimic could also evolve a new colour pattern to mimic another model species or it could revert back to its ancestral, less conspicuous phenotype. We used molecular phylogenetic approaches to reconstruct and test the evolution of mimicry in the North American admiral butterflies (Limenitis: Nymphalidae). We confirmed that the more cryptic white-banded form is the ancestral phenotype of North American admiral butterflies. However, one species, Limenitis arthemis, evolved the black pipevine swallowtail mimetic form but later reverted to the white-banded more cryptic ancestral form. This character reversion is strongly correlated with the geographical absence of the model species and its host plant, but not the host plant distribution of L. arthemis. Our results support the prediction that a Batesian mimic does not persist in locations without its model, but it does not go extinct either. The mimic can revert back to its ancestral, less conspicuous form and persist.
- Prudic, K. L., Noge, K., & Becerra, J. X. (2008). Adults and nymphs do not smell the same: the different defensive compounds of the giant mesquite bug (Thasus neocalifornicus: Coreidae). Journal of chemical ecology, 34(6), 734-41.More infoHeteropteran insects often protect themselves from predators with noxious or toxic compounds, especially when these insects occur in aggregations. The predators of heteropteran insects change from small insect predators to large avian predators over time. Thus, a chemical that is deterrent to one type of predator at one point in time may not be deterrent to another type of predator at another point in time. Additionally, these predator deterrent compounds may be used for other functions such as alarm signaling to other conspecifics. Defensive secretion compounds from the adult and the nymph giant mesquite bug (Thasus neocalifornicus: Coreidae) were isolated and identified by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry and NMR. The predominant compounds isolated from the nymph mesquite bugs during a simulated predator encounter were (E)-2-hexenal and 4-oxo-(E)-2-hexenal. In adults, the major compounds released during a simulated predator encounter were hexyl acetate, hexanal, and hexanol. Results from predator bioassays suggest the nymph compounds are more effective at deterring an insect predator than the adult compounds. By using behavioral bioassays, we determined the role of each individual compound in signaling to other mesquite bugs. The presence of the nymph secretion near a usually compact nymph aggregation caused nymph mesquite bugs to disperse but did not affect adults. Conversely, the presence of the adult secretion caused the usually loose adult aggregation to disperse, but it did not affect nymph aggregation. The compounds that elicited nymph behavioral responses were (E)-2-hexenal and 4-oxo-(E)-2-hexenal, while those that elicited adult behavioral responses were hexyl acetate and hexanal. The differences between the chemical composition of nymph and adult defensive secretions and alarm behavior are possibly due to differences in predator guilds.
- Frentiu, F. D., Bernard, G. D., Cuevas, C. I., Sison-Mangus, M. P., Prudic, K. L., & Briscoe, A. D. (2007). Adaptive evolution of color vision as seen through the eyes of butterflies. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 104 Suppl 1, 8634-40.More infoButterflies and primates are interesting for comparative color vision studies, because both have evolved middle- (M) and long-wavelength- (L) sensitive photopigments with overlapping absorbance spectrum maxima (lambda(max) values). Although positive selection is important for the maintenance of spectral variation within the primate pigments, it remains an open question whether it contributes similarly to the diversification of butterfly pigments. To examine this issue, we performed epimicrospectrophotometry on the eyes of five Limenitis butterfly species and found a 31-nm range of variation in the lambda(max) values of the L-sensitive photopigments (514-545 nm). We cloned partial Limenitis L opsin gene sequences and found a significant excess of replacement substitutions relative to polymorphisms among species. Mapping of these L photopigment lambda(max) values onto a phylogeny revealed two instances within Lepidoptera of convergently evolved L photopigment lineages whose lambda(max) values were blue-shifted. A codon-based maximum-likelihood analysis indicated that, associated with the two blue spectral shifts, four amino acid sites (Ile17Met, Ala64Ser, Asn70Ser, and Ser137Ala) have evolved substitutions in parallel and exhibit significant d(N)/d(S) >1. Homology modeling of the full-length Limenitis arthemis astyanax L opsin placed all four substitutions within the chromophore-binding pocket. Strikingly, the Ser137Ala substitution is in the same position as a site that in primates is responsible for a 5- to 7-nm blue spectral shift. Our data show that some of the same amino acid sites are under positive selection in the photopigments of both butterflies and primates, spanning an evolutionary distance >500 million years.
- Prudic, K. L., Khera, S., Sólyom, A., & Timmermann, B. N. (2007). Isolation, identification, and quantification of potential defensive compounds in the viceroy butterfly and its larval host-plant, Carolina willow. Journal of chemical ecology, 33(6), 1149-59.More infoThe viceroy-monarch and viceroy-queen butterfly associations are classic examples of mimicry. These relationships were originally classified as Batesian, or parasitic, but were later reclassified as Müllerian, or mutalistic, based on predator bioassays. The Müllerian reclassification implies that viceroy is unpalatable because it too is chemically defended like the queen and the monarch. However, unlike the queen and the monarch, the viceroy defensive chemistry has remained uncharacterized. We demonstrate that the viceroy butterfly (Limenitis archippus, Nymphalidae) not only sequesters nonvolatile defensive compounds from its larval host-plant, the Carolina willow (Salix caroliniana, Salicaceae), but also secretes volatile defensive compounds when disturbed. We developed liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry-mass spectrometry methods to identify a set of phenolic glycosides shared between the adult viceroy butterfly and the Carolina willow, and solid phase microextraction and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry methods to identify volatile phenolic compounds released from stressed viceroy butterflies. In both approaches, all structures were characterized based on their mass spectral fragmentation patterns and confirmed with authentic standards. The phenolics we found are known to deter predator attack in other prey systems, including other willow-feeding insect species. Because these compounds have a generalized defensive function at the concentrations we described, our results are consistent with the Müllerian reclassification put forth by other researchers based on bioassay results. It seems that the viceroy butterfly possesses chemical defenses different from its monarch and queen butterfly counterparts (phenolic glycosides vs. cardiac glycosides, respectively), an unusual phenomenon in mimicry warranting future study.
- Prudic, K. L., Oliver, J. C., & Sperling, F. A. (2007). The signal environment is more important than diet or chemical specialization in the evolution of warning coloration. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 104(49), 19381-6.More infoAposematic coloration, or warning coloration, is a visual signal that acts to minimize contact between predator and unprofitable prey. The conditions favoring the evolution of aposematic coloration remain largely unidentified. Recent work suggests that diet specialization and resultant toxicity may play a role in facilitating the evolution and persistence of warning coloration. Using a phylogenetic approach, we investigated the evolution of larval warning coloration in the genus Papilio (Lepidoptera: Papilionidae). Our results indicate that there are at least four independent origins of aposematic larval coloration within Papilio. Controlling for phylogenetic relatedness among Papilio taxa, we found no evidence supporting the hypothesis that either diet specialization or chemical specialization facilitated the origin of aposematic larvae. However, there was a significant relationship between the signal environment and the evolution of aposematic larvae. Specifically, Papilio lineages feeding on herbaceous or narrow-leaved plants, regardless of the plants' taxonomic affiliation, were more likely to evolve aposematic larvae than were lineages feeding only on trees/shrubs or broad-leaved plants. These results demonstrate that factors other than diet specialization, such as the signal environment of predator-prey interactions, may play a large role in the initial evolution and persistence of aposematic coloration.
- Prudic, K. L., Oliver, J. C., & Bowers, M. D. (2005). Soil nutrient effects on oviposition preference, larval performance, and chemical defense of a specialist insect herbivore. Oecologia, 143(4), 578-87.More infoThis study examined the effects of increased leaf nitrogen in natural host-plants (Plantago spp.) on female oviposition preference, larval performance, and larval chemical defense of the butterfly Junonia coenia. Increased availability of soil nutrients caused the host-plant's foliar nitrogen to increase and its chemical defense to decrease. Larval performance did not correlate with increases in foliar nitrogen. Larval growth rate and survival were equivalent across host-plant treatments. However, larvae raised on fertilized host-plants showed concomitant decreases in chemical defense as compared to larvae reared on unfertilized host-plants. Since most butterfly larvae cannot move long distances during their first few instars and are forced to feed upon the plant on which they hatched, J. coenia larval chemical defense is determined, in large part, by female oviposition choice. Female butterflies preferred host-plants with high nitrogen over host-plants with low nitrogen; however, this preference was also mediated by plant chemical defense. Female butterflies preferred more chemically defended host-plants when foliar nitrogen was equivalent between host-plants. J. coenia larvae experience intense predation in the field, especially when larvae are not chemically well defended. Any qualitative or quantitative variation in plant allelochemical defense has fitness consequences on these larvae. Thus, these results indicate that females may be making sub-optimal oviposition decisions under a nutrient-enriched regime, when predators are present. Given the recent increase in fertilizer application and nitrogen deposition on the terrestrial landscape, these interactions between female preference, larval performance, and larval chemical defense may result in long-term changes in population dynamics and persistence of specialist insects.
- Prudic, K. L. (2020, Summer). Harnessing big citizen science data: Climate change and local host availability drive the northern range boundary in the rapid northward expansion of the eastern giant swallowtail butterfly. Ecology Society of America.
- Prudic, K. L. (2020, Summer). Improving citizen science data collection for biodiversity conservation through targeted sampling. Ecological Society of America.
- Prudic, K. L. (2020, Fall). Data Science and Conservation Takes Flight in Butterflies. Florida Museum of Natural History Seminar.
- Giebink, N., Wilson, J. K., & Prudic, K. L. (2019, November). Unlocking big data for pollinator conservation. University of Arizona - EEB Department.
- Prudic, K. L. (2019, April). Data Science and Conservation. Women in Data Science - University of Arizona.
- Prudic, K. L. (2019, November). Citizen Science and Conservation Take Flight in Butterflies. Entomological Society of America.More infoInvited speaker to ESA 2019 program symposium: Marketing Entomology in the 21st Century: Delivering Knowledge, Changing Attitudes, and Encouraging Action organized by David Onstad and Keri Carstens
- Prudic, K. L. (2019, October). Data Science Conservation Takes Flight in Butterflies. Iowa State University - Entomology Department.More infoInvited departmental seminar
- Prudic, K. L. (2019, September). Citizen Science and Environmental Education, A Match Made in Heaven. Arizona Association for Environmental Education.
- Prudic, K. L. (2019, September). Citizen Science for Health Care: Lessons from Butterflies. University of Arizona Grand Rounds - Department of OB/GYN.
- Prudic, K. L. (2019, September). How butterflies make a living and how we can help them in a changing world. Boise State University - Biology Department.More infoInvited seminar sponsored by graduate students
- Bronstein, J., Davidowitz, G., Prudic, K. L., & Busby, K. (2018, June). Forecasting the developmental niche of Xylocopa californica in a changing thermal world. Entomological Society of America, Pacific Branch. Reno, NV: ESA.
- Prudic, K. L. (2017, August). Data Science and Biodiversity - Where do we go from here?. The Lepidopterists' Society. Tucson, Arizona: The Lepidopterists' Society.More infoKeynote address
- Prudic, K. L. (2017, January). Ecophysiology: tales from the field. Departmental SeminarUniversity of Illinois, Urbana-Champagne.
- Prudic, K. L., Kent, M. P., Rebecca, H., Oliver, J. C., Jeremy, K., Maxim, L., & Elizabeth, L. C. (2017, November). Real time massive online citizen science biodiversity programs: Lessons from butterflies. Entomological Society of America. Denver, CO.
- Prudic, K. L. (2016, November). Citizen Science, massive data, and new directions. Entomological Society of America. Orlando, FL.More infoOrganized a symposium with 8 speakers all involved in insect citizen science programs. Also gave a talk in symposium
- Giebink, N., Wilson, J. K., & Prudic, K. L. (2019, November). Does targeted sampling in remote areas solve the sampling bias challenge in citizen science data?. Society for Ecological Restoration - Southwest.More infoAuthors: Noah Giebink (50%), Keaton Wilson (25%) , Katy Prudic (25%)
Other Teaching Materials
- Clement, W. L., Prudic, K. L., & Oliver, J. C. (2019. Exploring how climate will impact plant-insect distributions and interactions using open data and informatics. QUBES Educational Resources.More infoThis teaching module provides an entry point for students to learn about data science, open data repositories (e.g., citizen science data), and species distribution modeling to study the effects of climate change on butterfly-host plant interactions.