University of Minnesota

Whose Wings are Bigger, Males or Females?

Plymouth Middle School, Robbinsdale School District 281
Plymouth, MN


In my experiment I measured the wing size of the males and females we raised in our classroom. I added the measurements together to get the total length. Then, I divided by the number of butterflies. I did this to find out which sex was larger. After I compared the lengths, the males were larger. They were larger by a small amount. I think the data was accurate. I learned that the males were slightly larger and that the difference between the sexes was small.


To find out if there was a difference in wing size due to the sex of the butterfly.


I think the females' wings are bigger.


  1. butterflies - male and female monarchs
  2. paper to record information
  3. datasheets for classroom butterflies
  4. millimeter rulers
  5. log book


  1. I measured the left and right wings of the monarchs in our class.
  2. I determined whether they were male or female.
  3. I added the measurements of the right and left wings together to get the total wing length. I did this for both males and females.
  4. I compared the measurements.


I measured 111 butterflies. I found that the average combined wing length for the males was 97.8 mm and for the females was 96.9 mm.


I found out that in general the males' wingspan was slightly larger than the females' wingspan. The females' wingspan is very close to the males'. I think it is probably very similar in nature since I measured a large number of butterflies.

What I Would Do Differently

Next time I would measure even more butterflies. I could also ask for data from other schools and compare it to my results. I could also compare data from year to year and see if it varies. I would like to do another experiment with monarchs.

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