University of Minnesota

Ecology Fair University of Minnesota Monarch Lab

Abstracts from Cloquet Middle School 2007

Cloquet Middle School
509 Carlton Ave
Cloquet, MN 55720

Year: 2007
Teacher(s): Cindy Edwardson, Cynthia Welsh

Close quarters: What affect does cage size have on manarch larva and butterfly growth?

Monarch butterflies spend many lazy beautiful summer days flying from flower to flower. Inorder to raise butterflies in captivity cages have to be constructed. In order to create the best living environment cage size will be studies. The question is what affect does monarch butterfly cage size have on larva and butterfly growth? The hypothesis is that larva growth will not be affected becasue monach larva are small and happy as long as they have mildweed to eat, but monarch butterfles love to fly to find their food or to fly to Mexico. Therefore, monarch butterflies kept in smaller cages will be smaller and eat less, then ones in a larger cage made of the same material. First take a large plastic insect cage and divde it into  sections, one section will be twice as large as the other. Daily feed larva with mildweed and the butterflies with juice soaked into a sponge. Record the monarch larave length in millimeters and mass in grams daily. Results pending.

Comparing Monarch Larvae Diurnal and Nocturnal Feeding

Abby A

Monarch larvae eat milkweed.  I fed the same quantity of milkweed to 4 monarch larvae during the day and at night and  measured the amount that they ate for four days.  I outlined each milkweed leaf on graph paper and then I was able to measure the amount of food eaten.  I thought that the larvae would eat more during the day because they have simple eyes and they might not see their food well at night.  The larvae all ate more at night than during the day.  If I did this again, I would use more larvae to have more accurate data.

Does the Length and Weight of the Monarch Larva Affect the Strength of the Silk Button?

Kendra P, Jenna A

We wanted to know if the length and weight of a monarch larvae affects the strength of the silk button.  Our classmates each raised monarch larvae and collected the length and weight data for each of them.  When their butterflies emerged, they gave us their containers with the chrysalis silk button attached along with their data.  We used paperclips added to the silk button to determine the strength.  Our hypothesis is that the silk button will be stronger for the larvae that are the longest and weigh the most.  Our results are pending this abstract submission.

How sweet it is!--Will a honey solution raise healthier monarch butterflies than if they were raised using 100% juice?

Chris L

Monarchs are beautiful insects that many people enjoy. The monarch butterfly lives about 8-9 months if it is born in fall and only lives about 2 months if they are born in early summer. During this time they go through the butterfly starts out as an egg, which is laid on a milkweed leaf by a butterfly. It is an egg for 3-9 days. The egg is also called a chorion. After it hatches out of its egg it is a larva. The larva eats and eats until it does its larva dance and turns into a chrysalis. Once hatched the monarch butterfly drinks nectar from flower with its proboscis. The monarch flies all the way to the transvolcanic mountains in central Mexico. They stay there to survive the winter. In Mexico they stay in trees called Oyamel Fir. On there way back north after migrating they lay there eggs on the leaves of the milkweed plant. Staying healthy and drinking good nectar may be important so the monarch butterfly can make its long journey south. The question is what is the best nectar to use for monarch butterflies while in captivity: honey vs. juice? The hypothesis is that when monarch butterflies drink honey they will grow faster and bigger then when juice is used. To begin the experiment six butterflies (three males and three females) were placed in a butterfly cage. One set of six butterflies were placed in a cage with honey for nectar and one set were placed in the same type of cage using 100% juice. Daily, butterfly mass and wing length were measured. Results are pending.

Predator danger!--Monarch butterflies sensing their world

Michael D

Monarch butterflies have to fly to Mexico each fall. They not only make this long trip, but they have to worry about frost, being hit by cars, trains and even moving bicycles. Monarch butterflies are predated on by few birds, because they eat milkweed, milkweed makes the butterflies poisonous to some predators. The question is how does the presence of predators affect monarch butterfly growth and survival? The hypothesis is that butterflies see using a compound eye, this eye will allow them to see predators affecting their growth and development. To begin this experiment first I will locate two cages of similar size. Then I will get paper towels to cover the bottom of the whole cage. Then I will get four containers filled each with a sponge and juice (two in each cage). Next I will place 4 monarchs in each of the cages. Then I will put a color, life size picture of a bird that is a predator to the monarch butterfly along with a mp3 player that will play the song of the predator. I will record the mass of the juice and containers every day to determine how much juice the butterflies drank. I will also measure the length of the butterflies for and hind wings as well as the butterflies mass in grams. I will repeat this setup for a cage with only the predator and a cage without a picture or a predator song. I will daily make observations regarding the monarch butterflies behavior and record mass in grams and length measurement in millimeters. The results are pending.

The beautiful emergence of a monarch butterfly: Lifecycle changes and gender.

Brittany P

How long do monarchs live? Do you want to know? Well I have the answers. The answer to the first question is easy eight months. That is a short life but it is worth it to the butterflies. The butterflies live in nine stages counting the five instars. Although they only live a short life they live it well, by first hatching and eating the shell, then they eat milkweed. All five instars take about ten to fourteen days. Then the monarch butterfly goes into the �J� stage that lasts several hours. After that they go into chrysalis. In each stage they are getting ready to become a wonderful monarch butterfly (Oberhauser, 1999). The question is what affect does gender have on a monarch butterflies life cycle?

The hypothesis is if monarch butterflies gender is examined then, male monarch butterflies will have a shorter transition between larva and butterfly and they will live longer because they have to utilize less energy for mating and producing eggs.

To begin the experiment twenty-five butterflies will be monitored during all life cycle stages for mass in grams and length in millimeters. A comparison of butterfly mass and length change over time by gender will be examined. The results are pending.

The Golden Mystery: What is the purpose of the beautiful gold ring on the monarch butterflies chrysalis?

Travis C

            All insects change in form as they grow; this process is called metamorphosis. Butterflies and moths undergo complete metamorphosis, in which there are four distinct stages: egg, larva (caterpillar), pupa, and adult. Many moth caterpillars (but not all) spin a silken cocoon to protect them as pupae. Butterflies do not do this, and their pupa stage is often called a chrysalis. The question is What is the purpose of the gold material on the chrysalis? The hypothesis is that the gold material bends sunlight and makes it harder to see the chrysalis, reducing predation. To begin the experiment chrysalises will be hung in a green plant. Participants will be asked to look at the plant with the light shining from behind the plant and determine how many chrysalises are there and draw the shape of each one on paper. They will also do this with the light coming from the front and both sides of the plant. This will be repeated for 15 participants. Results are pending.            

The human factor: What affect does the human handling of monarch larvae and butterflies have on growth and behavior?

Haley L

During the larvae stage the small caterpillar will go through five instars. Instars are growth stages and will molt their skin between each instar. Next, the monarch turns into a chrysalis and finally emerges as a butterfly. The question is when humans raise butterflies during their phases of growth, what affect does this handling have on their growth and survival. The hypothesis is that the more they are handled the more growth and survival will be affected. To begin this experiment a glass ten-gallon aquarium was divided in to three larvae cages using cardboard. Then nine-second instar monarch larvae were placed, three in each of the three cages. Daily during the larvae stage, each cage was cleaned, along with replacing the milkweed. In cage B, the larvae had indirect human contact while the cage was being cleaned. The larvae in cage C, had as much human contact as they could while the cages were being cleaned. In cage A, the larvae had little human contact at the time of the cage cleaning. The difference between cage A and C is that cage C got held at any spare time during school hours and the time of measuring or weighing. And cage A only got held once a day for at least four minutes. While on the other hand cage A didn't get any human contact at any time, they were just gently brushed off the leaves with another leaf while being weighed or measured. The hypothesis was supported both larvae and butterfly growth (mass and length) and survival were affected. Larvae in the no handling cage ate more, grew faster, went into chrysalis sooner and survived longer.

To clean or not to clean?: The affect of surfactant run-off on Daphnia magna's (a common wetland animal) reproduction and survival rates.

Angela M

When wastewater goes to the water treatment plant they treat the water for bacteria but not for soaps and detergents. When they put the treated water back into our fresh water it still has a low concentration of soap or surfactants. A surfactant is your common household soap, made out of petrochemicals or gasoline these soaps have a hard time breaking down. Opposed to �soaps� that are made entirely out of organic substances (Synthetic, 1998).  Surfactants found in nature specifically wetlands can magnify the affects of other toxic chemicals such as pesticides (Whitman, 2006). Daphnia magna are  zooplankton  often used as a biological indicator Species, which means it, is often found in many wetland areas. The question is what affects do surfactants have on Daphnia magna, a common wetland animal�s reproduction and survival rate?  The hypothesis

is if Daphnia magna are exposed to surfactants then their survival and reproductive rate will be negatively affected. To begin this study 100 Daphnia magna were obtained from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lab in Duluth, Minnesota.  Ground water was used and mixed with car washing detergent (surfactant) in different concentrations: 10 milliliters (ml), 1 milliliter or 40 drops, and 4 drops of surfactant were each mixed in an Erlenmeyer flask with one liter of ground water, producing concentrations of 1.0%, 0.1% and .01%. From each of these solutions, 25 milliliters was poured into six 40 milliliter plastic cups. Into each of the six cups two D. magna were placed. This setup was done for each of the concentrations and for six control cups with only 25 milliliters of ground water. The forty cups were placed in a Styrofoam raft and floated in an aquarium with a heater that maintained the water temperature at 24 degrees Celsius.

Daily, D. magna were feed YTC culture obtained from the EPA lab. Also adult populations were counted along with progeny production, to determine reproduction and survival rates. Tank temperatures were checked daily. Results are pending.


What affect does the type of insect (moth or butterfly) have on eating behavior and growth?

Randi N

Did you know that monarchs can travel over 80 miles a day! Wow! They can do this because they follow the same route every year! When they are on their flight they will only hang on one type of tree. Monarch butterflies have a very bright color to tell other animals don't eat me I am harmful. But why don't moths? Moths and butterflies when compared have slightly different life cycles, this study will inform you about the moth and butterfly while comparing them! The question is What affect does the type of insect (moth or butterfly) have on eating behavior and growth? The hypothesis is if the type of insect is changed then eating behaviors will be different. To begin the experiment was to separate the moth from the butterfly by putting them into separate cages after weighing them. The control for this experiment was the amount of light that each insect is exposed to stay the same during a 12 hour period of time. When the light turns on the insect is placed on the sponge and the time is measured that the insect spends eating. The independent variable will be the two distinct types of insects used and the dependent variable is the moth and butterfly mass. The results are pending.

What affect dose stream habitat (run verses riffle) and ground water input have on water quality and macroinvertebrate populations?

Megan K

Macroinvertebrates live on the stuff on the bottom of the rivers and streams. The macroinvertebrates are important to the lakes and streams because when they die they leave behind lots of nutrients that are used by aquatic plants. This experiment is done to determine the affect that stream habitat (run vs. riffle) and ground water input has on macroinvertebrate populations. The question is what affect dose stream habitat (run verses riffle) and ground water input have on water quality and macroinvertebrate populations? The hypothesis is if stream habitat (run verses riffle) then the water quality and macroinvertebrates population will be affected. Three water chemistry and macroinvertebrate samples were each taken from a run and a riffle on a Keenan Creek. Samples were taken before ground water input and after. Oxygen, pH, conductivity, water transparency and biotic index were determined for each section of the stream.

Results are pending.

What Kind of Lettuce Do Walking Sticks Prefer to Eat?

Hannali T

(Abstract not available)

What kinds of lettuce do walking sticks prefer to eat?

Anikka S

Walking sticks are insects that eat plant material.  They are often fed lettuce in captivity.  We wanted to see what type of lettuce walking sticks prefer to eat.  We gave 16 walking sticks the choice of four kinds of lettuce daily for 8 days.  Results are pending.

Will Monarch Larvae Eating Only Milkweed Leaves Grow Larger than Larvae Eating Only Milkweed Pods?

Miranda B

Monarch larvae eat milkweed but is their growth affected by eating only milkweed or only milkweed pods?  I predicted that the larvae would be larger if they ate only milkweed because there are more leaves than pods on the plants.  I used six larvae and fed three of them only milkweed leaves and three of them only milkweed pods.  The larvae fed on leaves only were longer and weighed more than those fed only pods.  I also noticed that the chrysalises and butterflies did not all develop normally when fed the pods.  I would want to be sure that I wasn't harming the butterflies by feeding the larvae milkweed pods only, if I were to do this experiment again.  It would be more accurate to use more larvae and to control the size and age of the leaves and pods in a future test.

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