SUMMARY Fluctuating asymmetry (FA) is considered to provide a means of evaluating developmental stability and to reflect an individual's quality or the stress experienced during development. Stress is predicted to increase the phenotypic variation of both FA and trait size. In this study we examined the effect of a particular heat shock on both FA and size of eyespots in the butterfly, Bicyclus anynana. We also examined whether those eyespots thought to be involved in partner choice and sexual selection were particularly sensitive to stress. We applied a heat shock of 39.5°C for 3 h before, during, and after a sensitive period in eyespot development. We examined the FA, variation in FA, size, and variation in size of five eyespots, two on the dorsal forewing (sexually selected traits), two on the ventral forewing, and one on the ventral hindwing (nonsexually selected traits). For each sex and treatment, the heat shock did not result in significant changes in mean trait size and FA nor in the variation of size and FA. There were no differences in the response to the heat shock between sexually and nonsexually selected traits. We discuss how the increased production of heat shock proteins, including HSP60, may have stabilized development and how this might explain the results.