University of Minnesota

Ecology Fair University of Minnesota Monarch Lab

Abstracts from Other 2002

(Various), MN

Year: 2002
Teacher(s): Julie Stitt, Annette Strom

Caterpillars and Food in a Maze

Blaise C

We put a few leaves of milkweed in one end of the maze and all of the caterpillars in the other end of the maze and timed them in minutes.  We did this because we wanted to see how smart the caterpillars are.  The best time a caterpillar got was a 6:35.  We werent unsure of anything after the races.  We learned that almost all of the caterpillars got a better time in their second race.  We also learned that the caterpillars are very dumb, they would crawl on the wall and stay there for five minutes.

Caterpillars Reaction to Insects

Laura F, Maria L

We did an experiment to find out how monarch caterpillars react to other insects.  We wanted to find out if they would ignore them or walk away.  The conclusion is that each caterpillar reacted differently to the different insets.  Take caterpillar # 3 for example, it just walked away from the insects while caterpillar # 2 did different things for all insects.

Effects of Wind on Butterflies

Karl S

We decided to do an experiment on testing to see how wind affects adult monarch butterfly flight.  We came up with several hypotheses on the possible outcomes.  We decided that either monarchs would be unable to fly in strong winds and forced down, carried by strong winds and fly with them, or the wind would have no effect on flight.  We set up three multiple-setting fans outside a tent in our classroom and put a stool in the middle of it.  Students then placed the butterflies on the stools, facing both forwards and backwards, and saw what would happen.  We also took measurements of the wind speeds.  The majority of the butterflies flew to a less windy or sheltered spot, but others flew into the wind, stayed on the stool, got blown off, or flew with the wind.  So we concluded a monarch in the wild would most likely fly to a resting spot with less wind.

Hungry Butterflies

Jonathan L

We tested How does the color of the flower affect adult monarch eating habits?.  We had four hypotheses.  Our first hypothesis was that monarchs will prefer purple flowers.  Our second was that monarchs will prefer pink flowers.  Our third was that individual monarchs will have individual preferences.  Our null hypothesis was that monarchs have no color preference.  We used colored sponges to represent flowers.  We had an eight step experiment: 1.gather supplies, 2.mark butterflies for identification, 3.soak sponges in nectar, 4.set sponges in monarch cage (monarchs should not be fed in last 24 hours), 5.assign an observer to each sponge and observe if monarchs land and/or eat, 6.if monarchs eat, record the length of time and do the same if they sit but dont eat, 7.observe cage for 30 minutes, and 8.repeat every other day for eight days. We concluded that monarchs prefer aqua colored flowers.  This is interesting, because we do not have any wild flowers this color in our area.  However, perhaps it was chosen because the color was not really bright, but not too dull.

Monarch Growth in Different Habitat Sizes

Michelle S

We did an experiment on how the size of the habitat affects the growth of a monarch larva.  We had two hypotheses.  The first hypothesis was that the larger the habitat, the faster/bigger it grows.  Our null hypothesis was that the size of the habitat would make no difference.  Our independent variable was the size of the habitat.  Our dependent variable was the larva growth.  We needed four different sized bins.  We had two bins for each bin size (a total of eight bins).  We used eight larva, a balance and rulers, and milkweed.  The steps to our experiment were: 1. Gather materials; 2. Measure bin sizes and record; 3. Set up each bin with 15g of milkweed per bin; 4. Measure and record length and mass of the larva; 5. Put one larva in each bin; 6. Every other day, measure and record larva length and mass, clean cage and give 15g new milkweed; and 7. Repeat step 6 until chrysalis forms. Throughout the experiment, numerous larvae died. Overall, all of the larvae seemed to grow at the same pace, although length was more varied than mass. Because of this, we concluded that the size of the habitat has no effect on monarch larva growth.

Monarch Larvae Eating

Andy B, David F

For our experiment,we flavored milkweed with pop and put it in our fourth instar caterpillars.  We did it because it seemed like a fun experiment.  What happened was both of the caterpillars ate Cream Soda flavored milkweed but only one ate Mug Root Beer.  Wed like to know if other caterpillars like Cream Soda flavored milkweed.  We learned that caterpillars actually like pop flavoring and that our two caterpillars only liked Cream Soda and Mug Root Beer.

Munching Monarchs

Sally W

We did an experiment on the problem Does the size of the larva affect how much it eats?.  We then developed three hypotheses.  Our first hypothesis was that the larger the larva, the more it eats compared to body mass.  Our second hypothesis was that the smaller the larva, the more it eats compared to body mass.  Our final hypothesis was that size has no effect on the amount of milkweed eaten.  Every day we would clean out our all the bins. Then we would trace one full milkweed leaf on graph paper.  We weighed the larva, and put the mass down on the top of the graph paper.  Four and a half hours later, volunteers would come in and fill in the area on the grid paper that was eaten.  Then they put more milkweed in the bin.  Our conclusion was that the larger the larva is, the more it eats in comparison to its body mass.

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