University of Minnesota

Ecology Fair University of Minnesota Monarch Lab

Abstracts from Kenyon-Wanamingo 2001

400 6th St
Kenyon, MN 55986

Year: 2001
Teacher(s): Jeff Wibben

The Role of Light in Butterfly Mating

Tara L, Amanda B

We got two male and two female butterflies.  We made two habitats, one we kept light all the time and the other we kept dark.  We put one pair into each habitat at 1:00pm.  We watched and waited.  By 7:00pm the butterflies in the dark habitat were mating.  We did this experiment to find out if butterflies preferred privacy while mating. We found out that the butterflies in the dark habitat mated while the butterflies in the light habitat did not. The uncertainties in our experiment were that we could not watch the butterflies all day.  The other was that one habitat was made of screen and the other was a plastic storage bin. What we would do new next time would be to put a video camera into each habitat and make sure that the habitats were identical.

What's the Favorite Color?

Kristyna N, Kasey C, Gail C

We tested a caterpillar on three color wheels to see what color it favored most. Our purpose was to see what color our caterpillar and butterfly favored most.our caterpillar didn't favor a certain color, it chose many different colors. Our caterpillar didn't make it out of the chrysalis stage so we could not test it as a butterfly.  We thought that a monarch caterpillar would like the color green but that did not happen.  We learned that caterpillar do not favor just one color but many colors instead. We also learned how fragile a butterfly in the pupa stage can be.

Will The Caterpillar Choose Green Paper or Milkweed?

Karl K

What we did was place a caterpillar in the center of a white sheet of paper 8.5 by 11 inches. The sheet of paper had milkweed in two opposing corners, and green paper shaped like milkweed in the other two corners. We faced the caterpillar in-between the milkweed and green paper. We gave the caterpillar ten minutes to go to one of the options.  We wanted to see whether the caterpillar could see the difference between milkweed and green paper. The caterpillar chose nothing four times and milkweed once. There were uncertainties that could be overcome by using more caterpillars, trying to use caterpillars that are the same, doing more tests on each caterpillar, and/or using hungrier caterpillars. We learned that you should give the caterpillar more time to decide, and that when a caterpillar doesn't know what to do it will just sit there and shake its antennas.

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