University of Minnesota

Ecology Fair University of Minnesota Monarch Lab

Abstracts from Willow Creek Middle School 2006

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

Year: 2006
Teacher(s): De Cansler

GIANT MONARCH LARVA (museum exhibit)

Molly B, Jose C, Elle W, Jared Z, Jared B

The Butterfly and Garden Club at Willow Creek Middle School worked with currator of the Bell Museum of Natural History, Kevin Williams, to create a giant monarch larva. Our model shows details of the internal as well as external anatomy.

Monarch Butterflies Unusual Food Preferences

Lauren U, D.J. J, Elli J, Pano P

We tested how much a monarch butterfly drank of various substances, other than nectar. We want to understand what types of liquids are appealing to monarchs. We had to use different butterflies, because a couple of the original butterflies died. Although this did not seem to alter our experiment because we had similar results with the new and old butterflies. We also could not control the noise level since we did it in a hallway at school. We found that the monarch’s really liked the sugar water and the milk. We also found that four of the butterflies died after they drank the Red Bull. As well the two butterflies that drank the most vinegar died quickly after. The monarchs moved their proboscises the most with vinegar.

Monarch Butterfly Flower Preference

Lucas K, Erik B, Gavin S

We tested monarch butterflies on five different types of flowers and recorded the time the proboscis remained extended. Our class chose this monarch experiment and we were selected to test the experiment for the class. We found that monarchs liked cone-shaped flowers the most. Sometimes the butterflies were not hungry when we fed them. Color did not seem to affect the selection; smaller flowers seemed to be more likely to be selected.

Parasites (Oe) in Monarch Butterflies

Katrina W

For this experiment, we tried to artificially infect monarch butterflies with Ophryocystis elektroscirrha (Oe) parasite spores.  We attemped to find out how long it takes an infected butterfly to infect four other healthy butterflies in the period of one week. After seven days, we tested all the butterflies for parasite spores (including the infected butterfly) and we recorded out results. Although three of the five butterflies were dead at the end of one week, ALL were found to be parasite free!  Our project was not as succesful as we had hoped because the butterfly onto which the spores were painted never actually became infected with the parasite.  Therefore, this butterfly could not cause any of the other butterflies to develop infection with the Oe parasite.  We learned form this experiment that attempts to artificially infect butterflies with Oe spores may not always be succesful.  We also learned that when doing an experiment, always test the independent variables (in this case, the parasitized butterfly) before you begin your experiment.

The Efffect of Predator Scent on Monarch Larvae Behavior

Morgan W, Grace S, Jo (Xiao Zhou) Z

Our team tested how monarch larvae reacted to Japanese beetles. The purpose of this experiment was to test how larvae reacted to a threat. The results for this first test were inconclusive, as the larvae all died, without showing much of a reaction, besides moving away. One error that existed was leaving the larvae with the live predators. Some new things we learned were  not to leave a larvae with a live predator and next time use only the scent of a dead one.

What Kinds of Beverages do Monarchs Prefer?

Anna L

I tested monarch butterflies to see what kind of drink they prefered. The purpose was to see if they prefered sweeter beverages. My results were that they preferred sweeter beverages. I wasn't always there when the monarch was drinking, but I tried my hardest to get the best results. During this experiment I learned that monarchs have preferances just like humans.

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