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The effect of temperature on the metamorphosis of the Painted Lady butterflyFeatured science projectScience project video


The materials required for this science fair project:

-    3 transparent fish tanks

-    60 Painted lady butterfly caterpillars

-    3 leafy plants that can be placed in the fish tank

-    1 air conditioned room

-    1 incandescent lamp

-    3 thermometers


1.    For this experiment, the independent variable is the temperature the caterpillars are exposed to during the chrysalis stage. The dependent variable is the number of days it takes for the transformation from the start of  the chrysalis stage until the butterfly comes out. This is determined by observing and counting the chrysalis in the tank everyday. The constants (control variables) are the number of butterflies, the species of butterflies used, the type of leaves the caterpillars are fed and the size of the fish tank.

2.    The  3 fish tanks are labeled A, B and C. One leafy potted plant is placed in each fish tank. Twenty Painted lady butterfly caterpillars are placed on the plants in each tank.

3.    The 3 tanks that were labeled A, B and C are kept under the following conditions.

a.    Tank A – kept in an air conditioned room where the temperature is maintained at 18° C,

b.    Tank B – kept in room condition with temperature around 24° C ,

c.    Tank C – kept under  an incandescent lamp with average temperature at 30° C

4.    Not all the caterpillars will form into the chrysalis stage on the same day. Observation is made everyday on the start of the chrysalis stage for each individual caterpillar. The number of days the caterpillar takes to transform from the beginning of the chrysalis into a butterfly is observed everyday. The results are recorded in the table below.

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Complexity level:
Project cost ($):
Time required:
1 day to prepare, 9 days for observation
Material availability:
Easily found
Safety concerns: