University of Minnesota

Are the Females’ Wings Larger Than the Males’?

A 6th Grader
Plymouth Middle School, Robbinsdale School District 281
Plymouth, MN


I wanted to know if the females' wings were larger than the males'. I used the data sheets and recorded wing size of the left and right wings. I found the average wing size for each sex. I found the females' wings were both larger and smaller than the males' wings. I would like to have data from other years to compare with this year's data. I learned how to tell male monarchs from female monarchs. I learned that their bright colors signal poison to their enemies.


I think the females' wings are larger than the males'.


  1. monarch butterflies, males and females
  2. data sheet for recording information
  3. log book


I found out that there is a difference in size between the left and right wings of a butterfly in both males and females. I found that the females' right wings are 1 mm larger than the males' on average. The males' left wings are 2 mm larger than the females' on average.

(Photo: Plymouth Middle School)


I learned that of the monarchs we raised this year, the size of the wings for both males and females is almost equal. I think they are probably like that in nature too.

What I Would Do Differently Next Time

I would analyze data from other classes and other years to see if they are the same or different than what I found for 1998. I would also plan my time better. I would like to do something more difficult next time.

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