University of Minnesota

Ecology Fair University of Minnesota Monarch Lab

Abstracts from Willow Creek Middle School 2002

Willow Creek Middle School
2425 11th Ave SE
Rochester, MN 55604

Year: 2002
Teacher(s): De Cansler

A Study of Eating and Weight Gain/Loss in Adult Monarch Butterflies: Males vs. Females

Caitlin B, Nara H

We tested our experiment by weighing ten butterflies.  We did this by feeding the butterflies and then waiting 24 hours and then we weighed them and recorded their weight.  We did this for four days and found the average for each butterfly, and then for all males and females.  We wanted to find out whether a male or female monarch weighed more after 24 hours.  We dont know the results yet, but well find out when were done.  We think an uncertainty is that some of the butterflies may not have gotten a chance to drink their food that was given to them.  Not having their food will affect their weight.  We havent found anything new because we arent done conducting our experiment.

Does Acid Rain Affect the Development Stages of a Monarch Butterfly?

Anna K

Monarch butterflies live in the US and Mexico, which have increasing populations that impact the monarchs environment.  Fossil fuels are burned, the air is polluted, and this results in acid rain.  During the larvae stage, monarch caterpillars feed off milkweed plants which are exposed to acid rain.  I was wondering what effect ingesting these plants might have on the development stages of a monarch butterfly.  Sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides are key components in acid rain. I soaked milkweed leaves in tap water and water acidified with nitric or sulfuric acid.  I then observed the development stages of about 30 caterpillars.  My observations during the larvae stage did not show a significant difference in development.  I did note a slightly higher death rate in the control group.  Chrysalis formation and development data is still in progress.  Environmental impacts can be acute or sometimes may take several generations to show mutations in development.  My butterflies may have already been exposed to acid rain, thus results would not be acute and would need to study many generations for comparison.

Monarch Chrysalides: Light vs. Dark

Anna K

My research project was developed to answer the question, does light affect how long it takes for a butterfly to emerge from its chrysalis?  I raised 24 monarch caterpillars in two cages and fed them common milkweed leaves.  I obtained monarch eggs from my science teacher who was raising these butterflies.  After each caterpillar Jed and formed a chrysalis, I tied a string around their cremaster and gently removed the silk from the lid of the cage.  I noted the time of the chrysalis formation and randomly hung them so there was an even amount of chrysalides on a string in our dining room, where plenty of light comes in.  The constant dark group of chrysalides were hung in a box in the same area of our dining room so all chrysalides were at approximately the same temperature.  I checked daily for emerging butterflies. My results were that the incubation time for the butterflies to emerge from the chrysalides does change with the amount of light they are exposed to.  When I averaged the incubation times for each group, the daylights average was 12.6 days and the constant darks average was 15.1 days.  I also observed that all the daylight chrysalides emerged after sunrise, but some of the constant dark chrysalides emerged during the night.  My conclusion is that light does affect how long it takes for a butterfly to emerge from its chrysalis.

Monarch Larval Leaf Preference: Tops vs. Bottoms

Katlyn F

My experiment is to see what side of the milkweed leaf the monarch larvae like best.  I got this idea when I was raising some other larvae and saw that they stayed on the backside of the leaf a lot.  I decided to make an experiment out of it, in which I put eight larvae into a good sized container and observed them for about eight days, and after those eight days I will come up with a conclusion.  My hypothesis is that the larvae will go for the backside of the leaf because thats what my other larvae did.  I think that in the future I would do this experiment in a much smaller container and with bigger larvae.

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