Simone Yen

Mentor: Dr. Chris Hamilton
Florida Museum of Natural History
"I got involved in research because, as a student pursuing a major in biology, I wanted to experience something unique and acquire new knowledge in a non-classroom setting. I have always been fascinated with the scientific approach of having a question and searching for an answer. The world has gained so much from research and I wanted to get a taste of that sense of curiosity and discovery."





Research Interests

  • Holistic Veterinary Medicine
  • Medicinal fungi

Academic Awards

  • Environmental Steward Award, awarded in 2014
  • Dean's List for Spring 2015
  • University Scholars Program 2016


  • University of Florida Crew Team


  • Florida Museum of Natural History
  • Alachua County Humane Society

Hobbies and Interests

  • Working with animals
  • Hiking
  • Traveling

Research Description

Testing Luna Moth Mate Choice: Did Female Vision Drive the Length of Hindwing Tails?
The goal of the experiment is to perform 50 successful mating trials, where a female moth is presented a choice -- either a male with tails or a male without tails with which to mate. Individual moths will be reared in the lab from wild-caught females, and the remainder will be purchased from Shady Oak Butterfly Farm in Alachua, FL. We will separate males and females when the moths are in their pupal stage. Freshly eclosed luna moths will be placed in a small, 2 x 2 ft flight cage. In each flight cage, one female and two males will be placed together, one male with tails, and another without. To artificially create a male without tails, we will cut the hindwings “tail” and then seal the wound with a thin layer of gorilla glue. The male with the tail will also have his tails removed and then glued back using gorilla glue, as a sham control to account for the action of cutting or glue as factors that could alter the results of the experiment. Tails of each moth will be measured using a caliper and length recorded for each specimen. Each trial will be set up identically: the flight cages will be placed in an temperature-controlled rearing room, and the experiment will be set up the same time of day. Moths will be left overnight and will be recorded using a Hitachi video camera. The footage will be reviewed the following day to determine mating success results. One hundred replicates will be conducted, and statistical comparisons will be made in SAS (SAS Institute, Cary NC) and R (R Development Core Team).