Our group participated in a Citizen Scientist Research Study entitled “Project MonarchHealth”, through Institute of Ecology/Altizer Lab at the University of Georgia. We participated in this research study because we thought it would be fun. We are interested in insects, so we thought it would be interesting to participate in a research project involving insects. We wanted to help track the spread of a parasite that affects monarch butterflies. The parasite is called Ophryocystis elektroscirrha (OE).
We collected parasite data from 9 monarch butterflies; including 7 female and 2 males on September 1, 2006 at the Fairview Cemetery in Stillwater, MN. We swabbed the butterfly’s abdomen with a Q-tip to collect any of the OE spores. Then we sent the samples and our data sheets to the Altizer lab, so they could evaluate our data and determine if our butterflies contained the OE parasite. The Altizer lab will post the results of our collection to their website when the research study is completed.