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Ecology Fair University of Minnesota Monarch Lab

Abstracts from Amery Middle School 2006

Amery Middle School
501 Minneapolis Ave S
Amery, WI 54001

Year: 2006
Teacher(s): Zoe Thouin-Rochester

How the Type of Food Affects the Mass/min. of a Monarch Butterfly

Bethany D, Matt Z, Stephanie C, Emma C, Kyle E, Taylor A

We wanted to discover how the type of food affected the mass per minute of a monarch butterfly. We wanted to discover this for two reasons. One, since many teachers and students rear monarchs in the classroom, it is helpful to know what the best type of food for a monarch in captivity is. Second, there is a difference of opinion among scientists as to what type of food is best for a monarch in captivity. Our results supported three of our hypotheses. Both of the energy drinks that we fed the monarchs (Gatorade and Endura) and 15% honey water cause the butterfly to gain the greatest mass per minute. Butterflies eating Endura gained an average mass of 45 mg/minute, while butterflies eating both Gatorade and 15% honey water gained an average mass of 44 mg/min. On the other hand, butterflies that were fed a 50% honey water solution gained an average mass of only 37 mg/min., and many of them died after approximately one week. Butterflies that were fed a 25% honey water solution gained an average mass of 42 mg/min. Some uncertainties we have about our results are that it was sometimes difficult to get an accurate measure of time for which each butterfly fed, because they would often raise and lower their proboscis into the food, making accurate timing difficult. There were a few butterflies that seemed to prefer 50% honey water, however, even when offered other types of food. We wonder if perhaps food preference and mass gained per minute varies from butterfly to butterfly rather than the type of food offered.


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