University of Minnesota

Ecology Fair University of Minnesota Monarch Lab

Abstracts from McGuire Junior High School 2004

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

Year: 2004
Teacher(s): Georgie Molitor

Colored Milkweed Affect on Caterpillars

Sean N

The purpose of this experiment was to see whether colored milkweed would affect the color or color hue of a caterpillar in a real life situation. Unexpectedly, the color of the larvae was not affected, but the caterpillars growth pattern was. To set this experiment up, five milkweed leaves on a stem were put in a water tube full of yellow dye and placed in a cage with three caterpillars. The color was not affected, but the caterpillars were growing half as fast as normal caterpillars. Caterpillars grew worse in yellow dye because the caterpillars were in third instar for almost a week, where it should have been only one or two days. Lastly, the caterpillars were eating the same amount of milkweed, but were growing less. I had no uncertainties other than the fact that these caterpillars were raised during the time when most monarchs are already in Mexico. If this experiment was to be done again, I would conduct it during the normal growing season for monarch, spring to early fall, to find out if this was an important variable.

Dyed Monarchs

Katie S

What will happen to a monarch caterpillar's growth if blue food dye and red food dye is added to the milkweed. The length, weight, number of frass, the necturing time, and the pupa time in stage were measured. The color of frass, caterpillars, and pupa were observed. The blue and red dye both had an affect on the caterpillars. This is true because when the caterpillars consumed the milkweed they did not obtain the essential nutrients to grow longer and heavier. The blue and red dye also affect the number of frass the caterpillars produced leading us to conclude that the caterpillars didn't eat the milkweed or they ate very little of it. Another affect of the dye was that the pupa stage was shorter than normal. What is uncertain is that different people could have done the same job, the milkweed could have been over soaked or moldy, or human hands could have touched the caterpillars. If I were to do a new test I would do a test using monarch caterpillars. I would put them in the 24-hour sunlight. I would want to know if it would affect their internal clocks and if they would grow faster than normal.

Fogger Experiment on Caterpillars

Jordan C

This specific experiment tests caterpillar survival in high levels of moisture. Most of the affects of this experiment were quite shocking compared to that of caterpillars raised in normal conditions. For instance, a lot of the caterpillars had thicker black stripes on their abdomen in all three cages. Also, the caterpillars were smaller at a glance, but not when it came to measuring their weight. One of the butterflies that actually emerged had deformed hind wings that were wrinkly and small. This deformed butterfly also had a much larger abdomen than most normal butterflies. Most of the parts in the data and observations collected should be used in the analysis, but only the averages of the data collected will be used. The averages are important because they are what will be used in the graph. The data wasn't very similar to the observations. However, the caterpillars were smaller than average, but their weight was about the same. Therefore, the fogger (high levels of moisture) had a drastic effect on the monarch caterpillars, pupa, and butterflies.

Killer Red Milkweed

John H

The purpose of my experiment was to test if a monarch caterpillar would like or dislike the colored milkweed. The milkweed's water source was dyed red. With my results, the caterpillar did not like the milkweed. With each day, it had became more lazy and decreased the amount of food it ate. In addition, its stripes had increased in width and it grew very slowly. I am sure that the red milkweed had a bad effect on the caterpillars, yet another class reported that their caterpillar seemed happy. Next time I do an experiment, it would be nice to base my results from more data. This report has been made mostly on observations taken by my group. While this is enough to show that the milkweed had a bad effect, some more solid data would be nice.

Strobe Caterpillar's Life Growth

Jay L

My purpose is to find how many days it would take caterpillars to go from a first instar to a butterfly with twenty-four hours of strobe light. My job was to measure how much milkweed there was left each day and to get new milkweed. I found that even though the strobe caterpillars grew faster, they grew confused and died. The results did have uncertainties because some of the caterpillars weren't handled the way they could have been. If I were to do this experiment again, I would have more jobs and things to test, and instead of strobe light, I would look at the affect of food coloring. The reason I think this is a test I want to do is because this was my original test I wanted to do and I love messing around with food and food coloring. I believe I could do this test because I have learned how to do this from a great source. I loved working with caterpillars and science.

Strobe Light Effect on Monarch Butterflies

Caitlin D

In this experiment I fed, measured, and cared for a cage full of monarch caterpillars that were placed in front of and raised under a strobe light. The purpose of this experiment was to find out how many times a monarch butterfly would flap its wings per minute after being raised under a strobe light. The results in this experiment are unclear. Because of all of the caterpillars dying before they reached adulthood there were no butterflies to measure so an interpretation was made through the caterpillars measurements. Through the use of the caterpillar's movement measurements, I decided that if the caterpillars had made it into butterflies they would probably not flap nearly as much as normal. The caterpillars were very inactive and hardly ever moved or ate and looked sick and almost completely stopped eating. The caterpillars also moved less than normal when put on a ruler to walk for 1 minute.

Will the Caterpillar Still Eat the Milkweed if it is Colored?

Britta M

The purpose of my experiment is to see if the caterpillars will eat blue dyed milkweed. You put three caterpillars in a cage with blue dyed milkweed and record their weight, number of frass, and number of milkweed leaves eaten, as well as observations. The caterpillars did eat the milkweed, because the results show that the blue caterpillars had higher average frass, number of milkweed leaves eaten, and weight. Some uncertainties are that I don’t think the same person carried the cage. This could affect the results, because one person might walk faster than the other one. If I were to do this experiment over again, I would change the dye color, then I could compare the results.

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