University of Minnesota

Ecology Fair University of Minnesota Monarch Lab

Abstracts from McGuire Junior High School 2001

McGuire Junior High School
21220 Holyoke Ave W
Lakeville, MN 55044

Year: 2001
Teacher(s): Georgie Molitor

Effect of Dye on Caterpillars

Austin S

In the experiment, my class applied dye to monarch caterpillars in three cages, red, blue, and normal, with paintbrushes.  We used cages, paintbrushes, monarch caterpillars, and dye.  My purpose was to find out if dye applied to the exoskeleton of a monarch caterpillar would turn the exoskeleton red. My results were that applying blue dye, with paintbrushes is the best way to help monarch caterpillars live to there fullest.  I would still like to learn why the dye did not turn the exoskeleton of the caterpillars red.  I learned how the caterpillars see and taste, and also that they have hair on their exoskeleton. I would still like top find out if there was some type of bacteria in the cage, and why the normals died quicker than the rest.

Pupa Color vs. Colored Food

Erinn K

In the experiment, caterpillars were fed red and blue dyed milkweed.  The purpose is to find color variation in the pupas after the caterpillars eat red, blue, and normal milkweed.   The color was normal until death, when the blue, and normal milkweed cages became dark, and the red milkweed cage became light.  The weight stayed average based on the caterpillars instars.  The health started good, but gradually decreased.  Some caterpillars started out by eating very much, then little, then moderately.  Some caterpillars started out eating little, then very much, then little again.  The length stayed moderate.  If there was no bacterial infection, then the results could change. Dye doesnt affect caterpillar or pupa color very much.  Caterpillars dont eat colored milkweed as much as normal milkweed.

The Amount of Activity of Caterpillars in Cold Temperatures

Ashley J

The caterpillars were tested for the amount of activity in hot and cold temperatures. The original hypothesis was that the caterpillars will be less active in cold temperatures. The cold temperature cages had many deaths at the very beginning of the testing. The hot temperature cages has the most amount of activity. During the time of testing there was a bacterial infection going around. I would like to do this experiment again to see if the results would've changed if there wouldn't have been a bacterial infection spreading. I have learned that the butterflies' bright, orange color keeps predators away. Also, I have learned that caterpillars go through many stages in order to pupate. Caterpillars have to be in good condition in order to be healthy and survive.

The Color of the Pupa When Fed Different Colors of Milkweed

Jennifer V

In this experiment we fed caterpillars blue, red, and regular milkweed. This was to see if the color of the pupa would change after eating colored milkweed. We found many patterns in our data. One was that as caterpillars changed instars, they became less active and healthy. We found that the activity and health in the blue and red cages decreased as they changed instars. All three things stayed about the same the whole time in the normal cage. Some uncertainties were that an infection might have gone around or someone didnt do their job. These could have made the information invalid. After analyzing data I learned how they act when they change instars and that the dye helped them.

The Color of the Pupa When Fed Red or Blue Milkweed

Wanda W

We had three separate experiments set up to feed caterpillars under red, blue, and normal colors. Both red and blue cages had two younger instars. The milkweed were dyed 50% of red for the red cages, 50% blue dye for the milkweed for the blue cages, and 50% water in the milkweed for normal. Five caterpillars in each cage were fed the milkweed and observed. The purpose was to see if the monarch caterpillars pupa changed in color after they consumed colored milkweed. All of the caterpillars died before they were able to pupate, except for some of the older instars who pupated, but later died. This left me questioning if the amount of moisture and dye affected their health. It is also possible that that were infected with the bacteria infection, plus the additional dropping of cages. I want to find out if the bacteria infection really did affect them. In addition, I also want to see what their pupae would have looked like. I have learned that the older instars tend to live healthier in the blue cage rather than the red, although the younger instars lived better in the red. Overall, the normal were the weakest, with the blue cages as the strongest.

Will Heat Affect Caterpillar Growth?

Torey B

In the experiment my class tested to see whether caterpillars would survive better in hot, cold, or normal temperatures.  We put five small caterpillars and five larger caterpillars in each cage.  We found that the normal and hot caterpillars grew better than the cold caterpillars, but hot had more pupas than normal did.  Hot caterpillars also frassed more than the other cages.  I am however not certain if we fed them correctly.  We may not have kept the cages set at the right temperatures either. I would still like to find out if it was the temperature that killed the caterpillars, or a bacterial infection as we suspected.

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