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What do Pill bugs prefer?

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by

Lisa Tellinghuisen

on 25 September 2013

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Transcript of What do Pill bugs prefer?

What do Pill bugs prefer? Sweet or Salty?
Hypothesis
If we place the sugar for one of our independent variables in a container then the bugs will be more likely to go for the sugar than the salt.
Background
We chose this question because we're curious what the pill bug's preferences on types of food are. What we know about the pill bug's eating habits are they feed on fungi, plants, and dead animals. (Wright, 1999)Pill bug surroundings include in basements/gardens, under rocks/bark, near stone buildings, and wet areas. (Brown. 1997) Where the bugs live contributes to what they eat. The independent variable will be used to find the pill bugs food preference based on taste.
Materials
1 teaspoon of Salt
1 teaspoon of Sugar
2 pieces of wet sponge
Teaspoon
Timer
5 Bugs
Containers for Bugs
Variables
Independent Variable: Sugar/Salt

Dependent Variable: How many pillbugs pick the Independent Variable

Constant Factors: Amount of Pill bugs, Amount of sugar and salt

Control Group: All the bugs used

Experimental Group: Bugs w/sugar and Bugs w/ salt option
Picture of Experiment
Was our Hypothesis Right?
Our hypothesis was right. The pill bugs spent most of their time on the sugary side, as shown by our results. The pill bugs ate the sugar and we compared to when they were on the salty side where they tended to just walk over it instead of eat. They also tended to just walk around the sponge(the control) to see if they could get out, they weren't very interested in the sponge. When the pill bugs started eating the sugar it took them a long time to stop. Some pill bugs even stayed there the entire time.
So why did we get the results that we got?
Through testing we have found that the pill bugs prefer sweet over salty foods. There were always more bugs on the sugary side than the sponge side. We think, that in nature, there's more natural sugar in things while there's not much natural salt in the things the bugs would eat.
Importance of our Research
The importance of this research is that we can see what the pill bugs prefer. If we put something that they prefer in the soil, maybe they will stay away from the plants that they kill. We also got to see a little social interaction between the pill bugs too.
Two Improvements
A study that could have been made outside of this experiemnt is that we could test if the pill bugs like lighter or darker soil. We could also see is the pill bugs have a color preference or if they prefer to stay together or not.
Sugar Graph
Procedure
We are going to have two containers to test with. One container is going to have salt in one and sugar in the other. For our control we are going to have a small piece of sponge. We will put the pill bugs in the choice chambers and time them at one minute intervals until 3 minutes, recording what side the pill bugs were on at each minute
Sources
Brown, C. 1999 "Armadillium Vulgare" (Online). Animal Diversity Web. Accessed August 28th, 2013. animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Armadillium_vulgare.html

Wright, J. 1997. "Pillbugs."(Online). Accessed August 28th 2013. www.3.northern.edu/natsource/invert/Pillbug.htm
Experimental Errors
We found that the pill bugs took a while to realize what was around them, because we put them in the choice chambers with little clumps of dirt. So we should have been more careful when we put them in. There also might have been different types of pill bugs in the choice chambers.
Sugar Data Table
Data Tables
Salt Graph
Salt Data Table
An improvement that we could have made to our experiment is that we could made the pill bugs stay in the choice chambers for more than 3 minutes. That way we could have had more data.
Full transcript