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Ecology Fair University of Minnesota Monarch Lab

Abstracts from Carondelet Catholic School 2015

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

Year: 2015
Teacher(s): Cece Cope

Milkweed Bug Observational Study--a second generation Team W3a

Naiya P

The purpose of our milkweed bug study was to watch the lifecycle of the bugs.  We also wanted to learn as much as possible about what affects how long they live.  We read about others who have done similar studies to give us an idea of what to expect from our culture.  We started with one male and one female milkweed bug.  A second mating pair had to be added at the end of the first week because we did not observe mating or eggs. The second pair mated; then we finally got some eggs.

Here are the materials we use to build our habitat: a gallon plastic bag, two green curly straws, one purple plastic flower, a small vial with a lid and tubing and a paper towel wick (a drinking fountain).  We attached net bags filled with sunflower seeds to the artificial twigs (straws) and we added polyester wool as an egg-laying area.

We did an observational study on the milkweed bugs. We kept a chart of how many bugs were in our culture each time we observed (twice or more weekly). As the second generation of bugs matured, some started dying off.  We thought this was because there are in small space and some of the variables milkweed bugs live with in the wild were not there to challenge them.


Milkweed Bug Observational Study--effect of mold Team W4b

Will H, Peter F, Walsh K

We began our study with two milkweed bugs that then mated. The population increased to much more: 16 milkweed bugs. The purpose of the project was to observe changes in the population over time.  What we found out was that the bugs were very fragile and that their habitat needed to be in good condition.  We needed to check on them daily or as often as our class meets. When we started, we did not know how often their water supply needed to be increased or what type of climate and weather they prefer. Our habit was fairly small, so we did not know if they like larger and more expansive areas. We didn't know if they would grow better in the sunny areas of the room or in areas with more shade.  We learned that the eggs are very small and clustered together, so they are hard to count accurately.  And we learned that the bugs can easily escape through a small gap in the bag.


Milkweed Bug Observational Study--Team W1b

Luis F

Our team chose to write about the Milkweed bug project because we found it more interesting than the painted-lady butterfly experiments that we also did this trimester.  We made a chart for data on these bugs and at the end of the fifth week, we graphed the data just as the offspring were beginning to mate.  Our team started with four adults (one male, and 3 females) laying a total of 72 eggs.  Quickly hatching, the baby Milkweed bugs grew swiftly. During the second week, our team noticed that the new Milkweed bugs were dying off very quickly, though.  Insufficient air holes, too many escapes through some unsealed parts of the habitat and the collection of unwanted pools of water may have been the cause. We cannot tell the cause based on the evidence we have.  Out of those 72 eggs, only 25 grew up to be adults.

Milkweed bugs are considered true bugs because they have the insect characteristics of: six legs, a head, abdomen, thorax and two antennae and the true bug characteristics of overlapping wings and a sucking mouth part.  We saw all of those features in our bugs, so that is evidence they are true bugs


Painted-lady Larva--Growth in Light vs. Dark

Aaron W

For our group project we designed an experiment using four painted lady butterfly larvae (about 1 week old). We placed half near the window in direct sunlight and we raised half of the larvae in a similar amount of food and habitat in a darkened area inside a cardboard box. We collected observations for almost two weeks We graphed the date (x-axis) versus the larvae (later, the pupae) length (y-axis).  Our claim was that the larvae in the light would grow to be longer in the light than the ones in the dark. We thought that neither of them would longer than 3 cm whether it was in the light of dark based on an article we read that stated the average length of a painted lady caterpillar is about 3.5 cm. The larvae in the dark grew to about 1.8 cm, and the ones in the light grew to be about 1.9 cm. Our claim was supported. Each day the larvae grew about 0.1 cm. By the 7th of October both caterpillars were in their chrysalis and by the 23rd, they emerged as painted lady butterflies. Our graph only includes the length of the larvae (not the width or height). It also doesn't include anything about the adult butterflies. Our larvae were in the larvae stage for about a week. They were in their chrysalis for about 4-5 days. We concluded that the light doesn't have much of an effect on the growth of the caterpillars. 


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