Kim Pegram | Desert Botanical Garden


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Kim Pegram

Program Director, Pollinator Conservation and Research

Kim Pegram

Ph.D. Arizona State University, 2015


Phone: 480.481.8135

Research Interests

  • Monarch and milkweed ecology
  • Beneficial insects
  • Animal coloration
  • Predator-prey interactions and warning signals
  • Science outreach to inspire conservation action

Personal Statement

I am responsible for direction of two conservation initiatives at the Garden: pollinator conservation and research, and rare plant conservation including the seed bank. I manage pollinator and butterfly conservation initiatives and research at the Garden. The Garden’s primary pollinator initiative, Great Milkweed Grow Out, helps conserve monarch butterflies and other pollinators in Arizona by propagating and distributing thousands of native milkweeds, outreach into the community and researching how insects interact with milkweed. My current research seeks to determine 1) which native milkweeds are best for monarch conservation, 2) how milkweeds support other beneficial insects and 3) butterfly-hostplant ecology in other species. My PhD research focused on warning coloration, understanding how iridescent blue can function to warn predators, with pipevine swallowtail butterflies as a model.

Selected Publications

Rutowski, R.L., Lessios, N., Seymoure, B., Pegram, K.V., Raymundo, A. 2023. Male behavior in a swallowtail butterfly (Battus philenor) ensures directional iridescent sexual signal is visible to females during courtship. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. 77, 112.

Raschke, A.B., Pegram, K.V., Melkonoff, N.A., Davis, J., Blackwell, S.A. 2022. Collaborative conservation by botanical gardens: Unique opportunities for local to global impacts. 3, 463-487.

Pegram, K.V., Fankhauser K., Rutowski, R.L. 2021. Variation in predator response to short-wavelength warning coloration. Behavioral Processes. 187, 104377

Pegram, K.V., Melkonoff, N.A. 2020. Assessing preference and survival of Danaus plexippus on two western species of Asclepias. Journal of Insect Conservation. 1-9.

Pegram, K.V., Rutowski, R.L. 2016. Effects of directionality, signal intensity, and short-wavelength components on iridescent warning signal efficacy. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. 70, 1331.

Pegram, K.V., Han, H.A., Rutowski, R.L. 2015. Warning signal efficacy: assessing the effects of color, iridescence and time of day in the field. 121, 1-13.

Pegram, K.V., Rutowski, R.L. 2014. Relative effectiveness of blue and orange warning colours in contexts of innate avoidance, learning and generalisation. Animal Behaviour. 92, 1-8.

Pegram, K.V., Nahm, A.C., Rutowski, R.L. 2013. Warning color changes in response to food deprivation in the pipevine swallowtail butterfly (Battus philenor). Journal of Insect Science. 13, 110

Rajyaguru, P.K., Pegram, K.V., Kingston, A.C.N., Rutowski, R.L. 2013. Male wing color properties predict material benefits received during mating in the Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly (Battus philenor). 100, 507-513.

Pegram, K.V., Lillo, M.J., Rutowski, R.L. 2013. Iridescent blue and orange elements contribute to the recognition of a multicomponent warning signal. 150, 321-336.

Pegram, K.V., Han, H.A., Rutowski, R.L. 2012. Overnight perching aggregations of the aposematic Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor; Lepidoptera: Papilionidae): implications for predation risk and warning signal use. Journal of Research on Lepidoptera. 45, 9-16.


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