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Ecology Fair University of Minnesota Monarch Lab

Abstracts from St. Hubert School 2015

St. Hubert School
8201 Main St
Chanhassen, MN 55317

Year: 2015
Teacher(s): Cindy Petersen

Extra Weight to Migrate

David M

Minnesota monarchs born at the end of summer will migrate about 2500 miles to Mexico and back to Texas. In June and in August I raised monarch eggs to adulthood and measured their growth. I wanted to know how the season that a wild monarch larva is born into affects its eventual larval and adult size.

Fifth instar larvae weights and lengths were similar for early June and late August. The average June weight was 1.82g and average length was 41.8 mm. For August monarchs the larvae weighed 1.66 grams, length was 41.5mm. As adults the August monarchs weighed 14.5% more than the June monarchs but the June monarchs actually had a longer wingspan at 54.9 mm over 52.4 mm for the August monarchs.


Hatching Heaven

Julia W, Matt L, Kate B

Twelve groups placed 3 monarch eggs into three petri dishes labeled cold (refrigerator), room( table) and warm(incubator). For 19 days we counted the number of eggs that hatched and number of caterpillars that ate their eggshell. We wanted to find out how the temperature (cold, room, warm) affects the hatching rate of a monarch egg, and in what percent of the successful hatches will the caterpillar eat its egg?

The eggs in cold and warm temperatures showed less hatching success; 11% in cold and 44% in warm. Room temperature eggs had a hatching success rate of 91%. Monarchs hatch on average 5 days in warm, 7 days in room and 10 days in the cold. More monarch caterpillars ate their eggshells in room temperature.


Strength verses Length

Tatum E, Nora T, Elle B, Grace S

In our experiment we placed eight Bess Beetles and six Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches on a track and had them haul pennies in a petri dish using a three-inch and nine-inch string.  We wanted to find out if a Bess beetle or a cockroach could haul more weight per gram body weight and if they could haul more with a three-inch or a nine-inch string.  We found that the cockroaches could haul more weight than the beetles, but when you calculate the per gram weight of each insect there is not a significant difference between the weight they could haul using the different lengths of string. To be as strong as a Bess beetle or cockroach a human would need to haul over 1000 pounds


The Battle of the Bugs

Abby D, Katherine W, Lauren T, Mike S, Isaac P

Fourteen groups took a Madagascar Hissing Cockroach or a Bess Beetle and tied a string, 3-inches and 9 inches long to each insect. We attached a petri dish to the string and filled it with pennies for weight. We started each insect at the beginning of the track and measured the amount of pennies each type could haul. Our question was, Which species of insect, Bess Beetle of Madagascar Hissing Cockroach could haul the greatest amount of weight and how much weight they could haul using a 3-inch or 9-inch string. The cockroaches could haul more that the Bess Beetles although per unit weight they actually hauled the same weight. Insects on a 3-inch string could haul slightly more than the 9-inch string.


The Small Haul

Taylor L, Colleen W, Ally A, Zoe E

Our class used six Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches and 8 Bess Beetles.  We built a track and put either the cockroach or beetle on the track with a three-inch or nine-inch string attached to the thorax and carrying a petri dish that we filled with pennies. We wanted to know how much weight each insect could haul and if the length of the string affected the weight hauled.  The results show that although the cockroach could haul more total weight than the beetle, they hauled an equal amount according to their proportions.  We also learned that the string length is not a major factor in the results although they hauled slightly more weight with the three-inch string.


To Nibble or Not to Nibble

Olivia H, Daniella K

We created a pod with milkweed seeds, filled an empty pod with sunflower seeds, kept one pod empty and had a pile of just milkweed seeds. Eleven groups placed a food source in a corner of a plastic shoebox and released 6-8 milkweed bugs. For 7 days we counted the number of milkweed bugs visiting each of the 4 food sources. We wanted to find out how the different food sources would affect the number of milkweed bugs visiting each food source.

We discovered the average number of milkweed bugs visiting the milkweed seeds in the milkweed pod was 14, 6 visited the sunflower seeds in the milkweed pod, 5 visited the milkweed pod with no seeds and 3 visited the milkweed seeds only.


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