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Life Science: Brassica & Butterfly System

Mother Knows Best

Do female adult Pieris butterflies prefer to lay their eggs on specific plant types? Find out by providing them with different types of plant leaves.

Materials Needed


  • Place the Ovipositrons into a Light House containing adult Pieris butterflies.
  • Observe the egg-laying behavior of the female butterflies.
  • For each Ovipositron, over a specific time period, keep track of how many butterflies land and fly away vs. how many land and lay eggs.
  • Leave the Ovipositrons in the Light House, and observe and record comparative results at 2 hours, 4 hours, 24 hours, and 48 hours.

Activity Questions

  • How did the butterflies behave when introduced to the Ovipositrons?
  • How would you describe the process of egg-laying?
  • What do you think the butterflies do to select a plant for egg-laying? What’s your evidence?
  • What plants, if any, seem to be preferred for Pieris egg-laying?
  • What are the consequences of egg-laying to a plant?

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