University of Minnesota

Ecology Fair University of Minnesota Monarch Lab

Abstracts from Willow Creek Middle School 2008

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

Year: 2008
Teacher(s): De Cansler, Erin Vasquez

Colored Food: Does it Affect Caterpillar Pigmentation?

Kaylie E, Jess B

We colored the caterpillars' egg and food. We wanted to know if it would affect the caterpillars' pigmentation. It ended up that the food coloring caused the leaves to mold faster, quickly intoxicating the caterpillars causing their death. We should have used a different dye than the food coloring. We have learned that food coloring causes milkweed leaves to mold faster and perhaps we should have done a project on mold growing on milkweed.

Crazy Caterpillar

Miriam R, Yesenia L

In our project we determined the different covering milkweed it would like.  We raised four caterpillars.  The liked different kinds of beverages.  We gave them new milkweed each day.  Almost all liked milkweed and sugar.  We experimented on what caterpillars liked for human drinks.

How much food do butterflies eat?

Riley K, Laura T, Kiran G

Have you ever wondered how much food a Monarch Butterfly consumes in 24 hours? We might be able to help.

In this experiment we used an electronic balance and weighed four Monarch Butterflies. We have small wax envelopes to put the butterflies in. On Day 1, we weighed the butterflies and the results were .392, .426, .365, and .418 grams. We put them back in their cage, and added more honey water on the cotton balls. 24 hours later we re-weighed the same butterflies and the results were .368, .411, .392, and .407 grams.

Overall, the butterflies ended up loosing .023 grams. This is an average of .0575 grams for each butterfly.

Our hypothesis was that the butterflies were going to gain weight. Our hypothesis ended up false and the butterflies lost weight do to not eating as much food the previous day.

How Will Lady Bugs React To Box Elder Bugs?

Phelps M

I placed ladybugs in a tub with box elder bugs. I observed them for an hour. I was trying to find out what the bugs would do My results are inconclusive at this point because my research is incomplete. Different bugs may have different traits and react differently. Two new things I learned are that ladybugs pose a threat to the box elder bugs and box elder bugs run away.

Insect Preference: Light v.s. Dark

Sam J

For this experiment, I tested whether different insects prefer well lit environments or dark environments. I did this by covering half a stone platter with a binder to make it dark and then placing the insect half way in between the two surfaces. I chose this experiment because I never fully understood where the insects decided to build there shelter. My results are inconclusive because I'm not quite done testing my question. One of my errors was that I was first planning on laying the insects on a smoothe metal cutting board but I realized that it was hard for the insects to move around freely. So far I've learned that insects have been uncomfortable when there's nothing between them and the light and that insects are more attracted to honey than sugar (I used those two things for bait).

Monarch Larvae Color Preference

Maddy O, Phillip P

In this experiment we put different colored paper in a tray and timed five larvae for three minutes fifteen times. We wondered if monarch larvae had a "favorite"color. We didn't get what was expected. They went to orange three times, green none, white four times, and black once. We concluded that larvae like white. This could be inaccurate because of roughness. We learned larvae can bend all the way in half and stick to glass.

What Makes Larvae MOVE and GROOVE?

Mackenzie S

I did a project on monarch caterpillars. My project was to see if different types of music would affect the movement of caterpillars. I did this project for an enrichment in science at Willow Creek Middle School. My results are not what I expected. I though that the rap music would make the caterpillars move more than the soft rock or slow music. But I was wrong. It was completely the opposite. They moved faster when we played slow than they did when we played soft rock or rap. Well I played the music right after the other and didn't leave a break in the middle. So that might have affected the results a bit. I learned that monarch caterpillars enjoy slow music over rap.

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