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Platt, Austin

Associate Professor Emeritus


Ph.D., University of Massachusetts, 1965

Professional Interests


My research for the past 29 years has emphasized studies of the ecological genetics and population biology of Lepidoptera. This program has focused on speciation processes and the evolution of wing color patterns in Admiral butterflies (Limenitis:Nymphalidae). The work has involved: 1) studies of phenotypic variability and character heritability of polygenic traits, 2) elucidation of the mating systems and selective forces underlying intergradation in polymorphic populations, 3) cross-hybridization of different species in the laboratory, and 4) investigations of the environmental induction of facultative diapause in Viceroy butterfly larvae, and the genetic, physiological and behavioral adaptations associated with it. Future objectives of my studies will include documenting life history parameters of natural populations of Admiral butterflies, and measuring the occurrence of isozyme polymorphisms within and between populations of these insects, which exhibit both allopatric and sympatric geographic distributions, mimetic and non-mimetic wing patterns, and varying degrees of intra- and interspecific relationships. Similar studies are being undertaken on the neotropical sisters (Adelpha spp.) a nympaline group of about 80 species closely related to the North American Admirals.