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Ecology Fair University of Minnesota Monarch Lab

Abstracts from St. Mary of the Lake 1999

St. Mary of the Lake
4690 Bald Eagle Ave
White Bear Lake, MN 55110

Year: 1999
Teacher(s): Teresa Root

An A-Mazing Experiment

Sarah G, Debbie P

Our class tested larvae to see if color affected their travels through a Lego maze. The purpose of  the experiment was to see if caterpillars had a preference for light or dark colors. The results of our experiment showed that nine of the twelve larvae finished the maze on the lighter side. A problem that we had during the experiment was that some of the caterpillars didn't move around the maze and remained in one place. We solved this problem by switching caterpillars. If our class repeated the experiment, we would use different materials instead of Legos. We could use construction paper so the pegs from the Legos would not affect the caterpillars' travels.


Food Preference

Elizabeth C, Elia P

We tested the monarch larvae by giving them different kinds of food to choose from to see which type they preferred. We found that most larvae passed over the colored milkweed and poplar leaves for the real milkweed. This means the larvae prefer the real milkweed and are willing to travel for it. Some of the things that affected our results were that some of the leaves were smaller than six centimeters square and the larvae were not equally hungry. If we did the experiment over again, we would not let the larvae eat for two hours before the experiment so they would be equally hungry.


Sight vs. Smell

Katie D, Tom P

We tested larvae to see which sense was stronger: smell or sight. Larvae had to find milkweed hidden behind a wall or find milkweed covered in plastic wrap. From our results, we found out that the larvae used sight over smell. A problem we had was that the larvae would climb up the wall, but not down it, so we don't know if the wall prevented them from getting to the milkweed even though they could smell it. We also don't know how hungry the larvae were. If we were to repeat the experiment, we would change the kind of wall we used.


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