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Keywords:

  • Host-parasite relationship;
  • protozoan parasite;
  • monarch butterfly

Abstract.

  • 1
    Monarch butterflies, Danaus plexippus, from two overwintering populations, were found to have Ophryocystis elektroscirrha spores on their scales at rates between 53% and 68%. The frequency of butterflies with O.elektroscirrha spores remained about the same between sites and throughout the winter.
  • 2
    The spores, recovered from all parts of the body of the butterfly, were most numerous on the abdomen, particularly near the posterior third.
  • 3
    Butterflies with spores survived as long as those without detectable spores at 10.1°C ±0.4 SE and 78.3% r.h. ±0.6SE. Insects with spores held at 19.4°C ±0.4SE and 44.9% r.h. ±1.5SE showed a significantly higher rate of moisture loss and survived a shorter period than monarch butterflies without detectable spores.