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Ecology Fair University of Minnesota Monarch Lab

Abstracts from Highland Elementary 2004

Highland Elementary
1700 Saunders
St. Paul, MN 55116

Year: 2004
Teacher(s): Eileen Cotter

Monarch Identification

Jennifer S, Feliceana Z, Celeste V, Gao T, Sylena G, Naomi A

We chose to investigate the question of whether the wing patterns of one monarch are exactly identical to those of all other monarchs. We used a sample of 64 dead monarch butterflies and removed the left wing from each. We wanted to concentrate on the white spots on the black band around the edge of the forewing. That part of the wing is visible whether the wings are open or closed. We scanned this portion of wing on each butterfly and enlarged the photo to 8 1/2" x 11" in order to look closely at the patterns. We quickly realized that the patterns have some things that are similar, but none are exactly the same. Then we started to wonder whether the patterns of all monarchs with the same parents would be more identical. We brought our monarchs out of diapause and were able to get two pair to mate. Then we kept each of the two females in separate cages with a milkweed plant and waited for them to lay eggs. They never laid any eggs even though we know for sure that they mated. We still wonder about the answer to our question, but we can't figure it out this year. We learned all about diapause and how to "trick" the monarchs into thinking it is summer and we learned how to mate the monarchs.


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