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Ecology Fair University of Minnesota Monarch Lab

Abstracts from Quarry Hill Nature Center 2012

Quarry Hill Nature Center
701 Silver Creek Road
Rochester, MN 55906

Year: 2012
Teacher(s): Andrea Lorek Strauss

The Monarch's Preferred Type of Milkweed

Nicole G, Elizabeth P

We tested Monarch caterpillars to see if they would preferentially eat a certain type of milkweed. The milkweed types were Common, Butterfly, and Swamp. We hypothesized that the caterpillar would prefer to eat the milkweed type that it had hatched from. The results were not conclusive as to a preference for a certain type of milkweed. The results may be more conclusive with a larger sample size or if we were to test only a certain instar stage. Things we learned were that the caterpillars did not seem to prefer one type of milkweed over another nor did it matter what type of milkweed they had hatched from. Overall, the caterpillars seemed to eat less the older instar stage they they were.


Three Monarch Parasites

Britta S, Mckinzi T

Our original topic was on causes of death to Monarch caterpillars, but when seven tachinid flies came out of one of our caterpillars, our interest turned to parasites. In our research project we give a description of the chalcid wasp, the tachinid fly, and the horsehair worm and how they affect the Monarch caterpillar. We have also included a case study of the fate of our caterpillar infested with tachinid flies.


Will Monarch Caterpillars Leave Their Containers Even if They Have Food?

Anna Sofia S

I gathered 15 Monarch caterpillars to study what percentage of these caterpillars had parasites. However, before I could complete this study, my caterpillars crawled out of their containers. The question for my study then changed to, "Will Monarch caterpillars leave their containers even if they have food?" My Monarch caterpillars all left their containers even though they had common milkweed available. I learned that Monarch caterpillars will leave their containers even if they have food.


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