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Ecology Fair University of Minnesota Monarch Lab

Abstracts from Carondelet Catholic School 2008

Carondelet Catholic School
3210 W 51st St
Minneapolis, MN 55410

Year: 2008
Teacher(s): Cece Cope

Chow Down Hissing Cockroaches!

Meghan S, Elise B, Macy M, Franny D

Our display includes two experiments about the diet of Hissing Cockroaches:

Franny and Macy wanted to know if you gave three Hissing Cockroaches moist food and three Hissing Cockroaches dry food, if there would be a difference in their weight gain or loss. We did this to see if it could effect humans in the same way. Over all the dry Hissing Cockroaches gained more weight at 8.01grams. One problem we had we had was that a Hissing Cockroach molted, so we couldnt weigh them and two Hissing Cockroaches were mating.  We learned that Hissing Cockroaches have really good grip and that when a Hissing Cockroach gives birth they might eat their egg sack before eggs hatch.

Meghan and Elise wanted to know which food of Apple-Cinnamon Cheerios vs chocolate would be eaten most often.  We put three hissing cockroaches in a container and added Cheerios and chocolate to the container to see which food was eaten most.  We recorded observations about behavior and we recorded the rate at which the supply of each food was used up (eaten). One thing we would improve if we did the experiment again:  observe each cockroach separately.  We had no way to tell whether each cockroach preferred the Cheerios to chocolate since we only observed changes in the total weight of the cockroaches and the total difference in the amount of the foods.  I learned that hissing coackroaches can move quickly and that they are able to distinguish Cheerios from chocolate.


Does the type of grain or the source of moisture matter most in the weight of mealworms?

Gracey H, Maddie H

    We did a couple of experiments to help us learn whether the grain or the source of moisture has the greatest effect of mealworm weight gain.
    Gracey wanted to see if changing the moisture in the mealworm habitat affected their weight. She used two containers of bran with 10 mealworms in each. She put apple slices in one habitat and potato slices in the other, replacing the slices regularly with fresh ones.  The mealworms given apple weighed more than those given potato.  The relults would be more reliable if mold control were not a problem.  Mold grew in each of the containers at some point in the experiment and one mealworm in the potato container died. She learned that mealworms go through a complete metamorphosis and that mealworms do not eat the apple and potato, but eat the bran instead.
    Maddie wondered which food source made the mealworms gain more weight:  oatmeal or bran?  She divided a group of 20 mealworms into two containers: one with oatmeal and the other with bran.  After they were put into their new habitats, both groups of mealworms actually lost weight.  Although the oatmeal fed mealworms weighed more overall, they lost more weight during the experiment than those fed bran.  The weight measurements were precise to the nearest .001 g, but accuracy may have been skewed by small pieces of bran or oatmeal that stuck to the bodies of the mealworms.  And the food source may not have been the only factor that was different in the two habitats.  The habitats were placed in the same area, but one may have received more sunlight or moisture than the other.  Maddie learned that mealworm care is harder than it looks and that mealworms actually live in their food.


Effect of Monster energy drink on apple-fed Mealworms

Katie O, Olivia S

    We wondered whether the extra caffeine and sugar in the energy drink Monster would affect mealworms the same way as humans. Humans tend to have more energy after drinking an energy drink.   We compared ten mealworms fed dried apple slices soaked in Monster to ten mealworms fed on apple slices.  We made observations of the changes in the number of larvae living and life cycle stage for a couple of weeks. But  we were most interested in how the enegy drink might affect the mealworms' activity. We observed some differences between the two groups and predicted that the those fed Monster would be more active.  To test our idea, we held a daily series of mealworm races. 


Lady Bug Larvae Length--Turn UP the Lights!

Erica Z

We wanted to see how light affects the length of ladybug beetle larvae.  We found out that the ladybug larvae grew bigger and went through the life cycle faster in the light (by 1 to 2 centimeters). We used identical containers and we spit our supply of larvae evenly between the two habitats, but we did not control every factor that might have explained the difference in length.  For example, we did not measure the temperature, so we are not sure that it was the same in the light and in the dark.  And the ladybugs in light were not always in the light nor were those in the dark always in the dark.  We learned that we should turn UP the lights to speed up the rate that lady bugs develop into beetles and to get bigger larvae!


Monarch Larvae: Do they need light to grow and gain weight?

Ellie M, Mary G

We wanted to see if Monarch Larvae in a light habitat would
gain more or less weight than larvae in dark habitats. We had 6 larvae and
we split them up so there were 3 larvae in each container. Then, we placed
one container in sunlight and put a towel over the other one. As we suspected, the
larvae in the sun gained more weight than those in darkness. One
problem we had was that our larvae died and we had to restart the project three
times. Some things we learned are; monarch larva gain more weight in the sun and all living creatures need sunlight and the vitamins in sunlight to survive and prosper.


Tobacco Hornworms: Green vs Blue Food

Micky O, Michael G

We wanted to study how it affects the weight of Tobacco Hornworms if we give them different types of food. We put 14 larvae in each plastic container for our experiment. The average pupa given green food weighed more than the average pupa given blue food Tobacco Hornworm. The averages are so different that it seems to strongly support that the green food is more effective on Tobacco Hornworms weight. This supports the first hypothesis.  We kept other conditions the same for larvae raised on both foods. So we believe that the difference is due only to the food. The scale we used was accurate to the nearest 10th of a gram.  We removed the frass once. The larvae were also under the same lights throughout the experiment. We learned that the only thing Tobacco Hornworms do is sit around and eat and that green food will make the worms weigh more than if you feed them blue food.


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