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Ecology Fair University of Minnesota Monarch Lab

Abstracts from St. Mary of the Lake 2000

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

Year: 2000
Teacher(s): Teresa Root

Gender From Anatomy

Tina A, Katharine C

This experiment was designed to find out if the gender of the caterpillar is determined by something in the anatomy.  We dissected monarch caterpillars, chrysalides and adults. We found the reproductive organs present in all of the life stages. We could not determine if the specimens were male or female because the reproductive systems were so complex. We would need to use better equipment to tell the difference.  Problems with experiment were that the monarchs were deformed, and they had been dead for a long period of time before we dissected them.  In the future we would run the experiment the same, but use normal monarchs.  We would also dissect them soon after they die.  This would then eliminate any variables so the information would be more accurate.


How Do You Like Your Chrysalides Served? Warm or Cold?

Lauren S, Katie B

The purpose of the experiment was to see what kind of effect temperature has on how quickly a monarch pupa matures into an adult butterfly. To do the experiment we put six pupae inside, with controlled warm temperatures, and six pupae outside, with uncontrolled temperatures. The pupae that were inside hatched seventeen to eighteen days before the pupae that were outside. Our group had a few uncertainties. One uncertainty was we never saw some of the pupae hatch. Another uncertainty was when we brought the outside pupae inside we weren't sure they would hatch. If we were able to do the experiment again we would have two video cameras. One camera would be watching the inside pupae and the other video camera would be watching the outside pupae. This way our group could see if anything unusual happens to the pupae. We could also see when all the pupae hatch. Also, we would put the outside pupae in a room that had a constant cold temperature to be more like the inside pupae who had a constant temperature.


Light Vs. Dark: The Final Showdown

Anna L, Ryan K

The purpose of our experiment was to find if constant light or dark would affect how long the monarch is in its pupa stage. We put two chrysalides in the constant light for their entire chrysalis stage and two in the constant dark. We found out that all four chrysalides emerged at the same time, whether they were in the light or dark. Some problems we had was that the chrysalides hatched over a weekend so we don't know if they hatched on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. We also did not know if the light properly turned on during the night. If we were to do this experiment again, we would bring the chrysalides home over the weekend.


Monarch Buffet

Lauren S

The purpose of our experiment was to find out what an adult monarch prefers to eat: nectar from various flowers or juice from various fruits. We used ten monarchs, five to eat nectar from flowers and five to eat juices from fruits. We assigned a fruit or flower to each monarch. We gave the monarchs five minutes to find and eat the nectar or juice; if a monarch started to eat anything we would time how long they ate. We found out that the adult monarchs liked to eat cantaloupe and honeydew the best. The monarchs mostly found and felt the nectar or juice but then tried to fly around but could not because there was not enough room. Next time we would test if males or females eat more or less then each other. We would do that because we did not mark whether the monarch was a male or female and that question came up while we were doing our experiment. We also want to do that experiment because we have a hypothesis about that question. Sometimes that is a major reason a scientist does an experiment.


When Blue Milkweed Strikes

Phil M, Andy W

The purpose of our experiment was to find out how blue-colored milkweed leaves may affect the caterpillars who eat the dyed milkweed leaves. To do this experiment, we dyed the stalks of milkweed blue and then fed them to caterpillars in their fourth or fifth instar. The results of the experiment were that the caterpillars did eat the milkweed and this only affected the color of their frass. The frass changed blue and it stunk bad. We predicted other things to happen but nothing else happened. Something that we think affected or changed the results of the experiment was that we could have fed the caterpillars the blue milkweed starting earlier in their lives and maybe used fresher milkweed.  We could also try to feed the caterpillars different color dyed leaves.


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