University of Minnesota

Ecology Fair University of Minnesota Monarch Lab

Abstracts from St. Hubert School 1999

St. Hubert School
8201 Main St
Chanhassen, MN 55317

Year: 1999
Teacher(s): Cindy Petersen

Humidity and Egg Hatching Success

Bob D, Ashley H

We set up 3 humidity chambers; high, medium and low.  In each we placed a stem of common milkweed that had many monarch eggs on it.  For six days we collected data to determine the egg hatching success.  We wanted to find out how humidity affects the hatching success of monarch eggs.  We found that in the high humidity (avg/68.5%) 100% of the eggs hatched; in the medium humidity (avg/55%) the hatching success was 96%; and in the low humidity container (avg/ 40.3%) the hatching success was 92%.  Our chi-squared test allowed us to accept our null hypothesis and state that humidity is not a factor in monarch egg hatching success.  The lower temperature in our medium chamber may have had an effect on the rate of hatching and possibly the success as well.  The quality of the milkweed over a six day period of time, despite the fact that it was in a water tube, may have effected the outcome.  We learned that humidity does not affect monarch egg hatching success, and it takes many trials to set up working methods for an experiment.

Larval Eating in the Light and Dark

Andrea K, Kevin G

In this experiment we took 4 plastic cages and put 5 larvae in each cage.  We placed 2 cages in the light and two in the dark and measured how much milkweed was eaten each day over a 4 day period of time.  We wanted to learn how light and dark affect monarch larval eating habits.  We found that the larvae in the light ate an average of 23.6 cm of milkweed per day in the light and an average of 37.3 cm in the dark.  Our results may have been altered in the light because the lamp may have dried up the frozen milkweed leaves too quickly, and we may have had some errors in measuring the amount eaten.  We learned that larvae eat more in the dark than in the light, and larvae seem to prefer fresh milkweed to frozen milkweed.

Monarch Nectaring in the Light and Dark

Kelly B

We put 10 monarchs in each of two cages.  One cage had a sheet over it to make a dark treatment.  We made a light situation by placing monarchs in a cage without the sheet and we put honey water nectar in both cages.  Our question was, How does light and dart affect monarch nectaring?  Our group found out that the monarchs ate more in the light than the dark.  They visited the nectar in the light a total of 35 times and those in the dark visited nectar 21 time.  One uncertainty was that we came in 7 times a day during the school day to observe, but we were not sure how much they were nectaring at night.  Two new things we learned were that the monarchs in the dark seemed to instantly activate when exposed to light, and that monarchs nectar more in the light than in the dark.

Monarch Nectaring Preferences

Emily C, Liz S

We set up out experiment by taking 10 adult monarchs and placing them in a cage with sponges soaked in 5 different types of nectar.  We recorded how many times they visited each type of nectar over a six day period of time..  We wanted to find out, How does the type of nectar affect monarch nectaring habits?  We found out that monarchs prefer Juicy Juice and sugar water the most.  They also tried the honey water, Kool-Aid and herbal tea.  We were uncertain as to whether or not we had enough data to make a conclusion and if the amount of nectar we fed them was the same.  We learned that monarchs have individual preferences but overall like Juicy Juice and sugar water the best.  We also found that monarchs are attracted to light and will fly to the window in a dark room.

Size Differences in Monarch Males and Females

Amy R

In our experiment we took many butterflies and measured the right and left wings and weighed them on an electronic scale.  We recorded the information for both male and female butterflies.  We wanted to see which gender weighed more and had larger wing spans.  The results were that both genders weighed an average of .53 grams.  The average right wing measurement for males was 4.7cm and for females 4.33cm.  The males left wings averaged 4.9 cm and females averaged 4.7 cm.  We were not sure why they would weigh the same if the males wing span measured larger.  We learned that the right wing is bigger than the left, and that male monarchs are generally larger than females.

Sound Effects

Jill C

In this experiment we put 3 larvae in four containers with 3 frozen milkweed leaves in each one.  Each cage was exposed to a different type of music between 7:30 am and 4:30 PM each day.  The types of music were Classical, Rock and Hip Hop.  A control cage with no music playing was part of the experiment.  We then measured how much milkweed was eaten during this period of time.  We wanted to find out how music affects the eating habits of monarch larvae.  We found that the control larvae ate the most followed by Hip Hop, Classical and Rock.  Although each team member played a different type of music and kept the volume the same, there may have been differences in how close the music was to the cage and slightly different temperatures in the houses where the experiments took place that affected the outcome.    We learned that larvae eat more with no music playing and least when exposed to Rock.  We also learned that everything but the independent variable must remain constant in an experiment.

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