Date of Completion

Spring 5-1-2015

Thesis Advisor(s)

Elizabeth Jockusch

Honors Major

Biological Sciences


Other Ecology and Evolutionary Biology


Correlation is the mutual relationship and relatedness shared between two or more objects. There are many factors that contribute to the degree of correlation. These factors include shared similar traits, developmental origins and shared common ancestors. Though there have been many studies in patterns of correlation, especially among various species of vertebrates and plants, relatively little research has been conducted in studying patterns of correlation among invertebrate species such as insects. For my research, I am testing correlations between traits in insects. I investigated three hypotheses that were based on previous work on trait correlation: 1) there is a stronger correlation in size of body parts in holometabolous insects compared to hemimetabolous ones; 2) there is a stronger correlation in size of body parts in adults compared to juvenile, and finally, 3) There is a stronger correlation among traits within body regions than between body regions. To test these hypotheses, eight species of insects were collected from different locations, four with holometabolous development (complete metamorphosis) and four with hemimetabolous development which involves a gradual incomplete metamorphosis different from the juveniles. Larvae were also collected from two holometabolous species. I dissected and measured seven specific traits for ten individuals of each species. These measurements were then used to calculate correlations between all pairs of traits. It was concluded that there was no support for any of my hypotheses. Correlations were similar in both holometabolous and hemimetabolous insects, adults and larvae and within regions and between regions. Much evidence provides support for size variation within species contributing to these similarities in correlations. Larvae species revealed higher correlation than the adults, due to higher correlations observed in trait pairs. The presence of these similar trait correlations within species suggest that mean correlation is depended on size variation.