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Pill Bug

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Quinnie Liang

on 3 January 2014

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Transcript of Pill Bug


The pill bug is the only crustacean that can spend its entire life on land, so their lifespan is only 2 years. They are often known for their ability to roll into a ball when feeling threatened, which is the primary reason why children refer to them as "roly pollies." Since they have poor vision, pill bugs communicate by using their antennas as well as through chemical means. Most live in humid environments where they are usually found in a garden, under a large rock with moist soil, or organic garbage. However, in order for pill bugs to survive, they feed on decaying plants, such as vegetables and animal materials. Throughout their lifetime, these bugs tend to eat any vegetation that comes their way. With this experiment, we are testing to observe whether or not pill bugs will also eat a piece of cabbage that has been soaked in sugar water. Because they are crustaceans who live in moist environments, we expect the bug to also eat the cabbage.
6 Pill Bugs (collected extras in case more are needed)
8 Paper cups
Cabbage (1cm X 1cm squares)
Electronic Balance
Plastic Wrap
Graduated Cylinder
Out of the 10 pill bugs that we collected, we only chose 6 of them because of their similarity in size, which was about 1cm in length, and color, which was a dark shade of blue. None were harmed in this experiment since they were all kept in a stable environment filled with moist soil and cabbage inside of a Styrofoam cup with a lid that had holes for oxygen to keep them alive. During the experiment, they were all given a piece of cabbage (either soaked in a sugar solution or just water) and a plot of dirt inside of a plastic cup with plastic wrap covering it. Holes were poked to allow oxygen inside the container. After the experiment was conducted, they were collected and released back into their original environment.

With the data collected from each trial, it revealed that overall, the pill bugs ate more of the water soaked cabbage compared to the sugar soaked cabbage. The total difference from uneaten to eaten for the sugar soaked cabbage was 0.16g compared to the the regular cabbage of 0.19g. This meant that they preferred to eat the regular cabbage.

In Figure A1 and Figure A2, the table depicts how were weighed each piece of cabbage three times for accuracy. The average allowed us to get a somewhat exact measurement of the cabbage eaten before and after. This allowed us to compare the amount eaten based on the mass of the cabbage in grams. The same went for the tables in Figure B1 and Figure B2, so in the end, comparing the masses of the eaten cabbage led us to the conclusion that the pill bugs ate more of the regular cabbage.
Data : Data Table
If pill bugs are given a piece of cabbage that has been soaked in a sugar solution and a regular piece of cabbage, then pill bugs will eat more of the cabbage soaked in the sugar solution in a 24 hour period.

1) We looked for pill bugs over a period of 2 days and were able to find 10 of them that were relatively the same size and color.
2) We picked out 6 bugs we were going to use based on their size and color. We picked the bigger pill bugs that were a darker shade of blue.
3) We mixed 50 mL of water with 20 g of sugar in one of the paper cups to obtain the sugar solution. We filled another cup with 50mL of water for the regular cabbage.
5) We placed 3 of the 1cm X 1cm cabbage pieces in the sugar solution and another 3 pieces of the 1cm X 1cm cabbage into a cup of 50 mL water. The pieces in each cup soaked for 20 minutes.
Procedure Cont.
8) We decided to leave the pill bugs over night in Quinnie's locker, located in Mr. Tong's room A26; therefore, we put plastic wrap over the cups and poked holes in the plastic wrap to allow oxygen for the bugs.
7) We placed 1 pill bug in each of "Sugar" labeled cups with one piece of cabbage soaked in the sugar solution. We placed the remaining 3 pill bugs, one in each cup, in the Normal labeled cups with the cabbage that was soaked in water. All the cups had a small pile of dirt. We also placed each pill bug as close to the cabbage as possible.
4) We cut 6 pieces of 1cm X 1cm cabbage. We cut near the leafy part of the cabbage and weighted each piece of it the electronic balance 3 times for accuracy. We took the average of the masses measured.
6) While the cabbage pieces were soaking, we labeled 3 cups Sugar A, B, and C, which was where we placed the sugar soaked cabbage, and 3 cups Normal A, B, and C, which was where we placed the cabbage soaked in water.
The purpose of this experiment is to determine whether or not the pill bugs would also be attracted to a piece of cabbage that has been soaked in a sugar solution. To do this, we placed both, an individual pill bug and a sugar soaked piece of cabbage, into a cup. This resulted in a positive outcome since the pill bug ate parts of the sugar soaked cabbage throughout a period of 24 hours. Overall, the experiment demonstrated that these pill bugs were able to eat only small portions of the sugar soaked cabbage.
9) We checked on the bugs the following day, approximately 24 hours later. We removed the cabbage and set the pill bugs free.

Pill Bug Experiment
Priscilla Giang
Deborah Lee
Quinnie Liang

10) We weighted each piece of the eaten cabbage, 3 of the sugar soaked and 3 of the regular, on the electronic balance 3 times each and recorded our data.
"Critter Catalog - Pill Bugs." BioKIDS. (http://www.biokids.umich.edu/critters/Oniscidea/) Web. 19 Aug. 2013.

Hadley, Debbie. "10 Cool Facts About Pillbugs." (http://insects.about.com/od/isopods/a/10-facts-pillbugs.htm) Web. 20 Aug. 2013.

"Pill Bugs." - Facts (http://www.pestworldforkids.org/pillbugs.html) Web. 20 Aug. 2013.

"Resource Cards." PNNL: Science. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Apr. 2013. (http://science-ed.pnnl.gov/pals/resource/cards/pillbugs.stm) Web. 20 Aug. 2013.
AP Biology
Period 6

Controlled Variable: Normal cabbage leaf eaten.

Independent Variable: Sugar soaked cabbage leaf.

Dependent Variable: The amount eaten over a period of 24 hours.
Control Group: The pill bugs that were given the normal cabbage in a plastic cup with a plot of dirt.

Experimental Group: The pill bugs that were given sugar soaked cabbage in a plastic cup with a plot of dirt.
After the pill bugs were put into their respective cups, we observed each of them for about 10 minutes on August 21st starting at 2:50 PM. The initial response from all three bugs was that they didn't seem to be attracted to the cabbage due to the new environment they were put into (a plastic cup). We tried to get the pill bugs as close to the the piece of cabbage as possible within the 10 minutes.

In Trial A, the pill bug was reluctant to examine the piece of cabbage. In Trial B, the pill bug remained near the piece of cabbage but was not seen to engage in eating it at all. In Trial C, the pill bug was located parallel to the piece of cabbage. However within about 5 minutes it was seen to begin walking towards it.

After the 24 hour period, it was apparent that all three pill bugs eventually ate some of it. The bugs in Trial A and C ate relatively the same amount while the bug in Trial B seemed to eat less.

The difference in mass shows that the pill bug in Trial C ate the most (0.10g difference) compared to Trial A (0.5g difference) and Trial B (0.4g difference).
Data Table Cont.
The pill bugs were observed on August 21st starting at 2:50 PM for 10 minutes. The bugs were all put into their separate respective cups, each with a piece of sugar soaked cabbage. The initial response from all three was the same since they weren't attracted to the piece of cabbage. However, there was some activity in which they began to examine the edges of the cabbage with their antennas. This displayed that they discovered that this piece of cabbage was different from the others they have previously encountered.

In Trial A, the pill bug was also seen to reside on top of the piece of cabbage. We assumed that it was merely resting on it since the bug showed no signs of engaging in eating it. In Trial B, the pill bug ultimately walked away from the cabbage so it remained parallel to it. In Trial C, after 8 minutes it was seen to walk away from the cabbage and then back towards it. This observation displays that the pill bug was curious about it.

After 24 hours, it was observed that the pill bugs eventually ate some of it. They all ate relatively the same amount with a slight difference in which bug ate more.

The difference in mass display that the pill bugs in Trial B (0.6g difference) and Trial C (0.6g difference) ate relatively the same amount compared to the pill bug in Trial A (0.4g difference).
The experiment was conducted to test whether pill bugs preferred cabbage that was soaked in a sugar solution or cabbage that was soaked in plain water. After many trials, our hypothesis, that the pill bugs would favor the cabbage from the sugar solution more than the cabbage from the water, was deemed incorrect. The pill bugs had eaten more of the cabbage soaked in just water than the one from the sugar solution. Throughout the process we learned that it was difficult to get the pill bugs to adapt to it's new environment, which was being in the paper cup; thus, making the experiment more time consuming to retrieve the desired results. Therefore, we added in a factor we did not anticipate, which was a small plot of soil. When we added the soil the pill bugs immediately changed their behavior; becoming more comfortable and settled as opposed to being frantic and trying to escape their confinement. We concluded that if we did not add the soil, the process would have taken longer than anticipated. While recoding our results and weighting the cabbages, we also took into account errors when it came to weighing the cabbage; therefore, we weighted each piece of cabbage 3 times and averaged it to obtain closer accuracy. Another error that may have occurred is the size of pill bug. We tried to keep the pill bugs relatively the same size. In the end, the experiment was successful in terms of getting the pill bugs to eat the cabbages and answering our hypothesis.
Cabbages After (Eaten)

Pictures: Preparation
Pictures Cont.

*Figure A1 shows the weight of the cabbage as a whole (1cm x 1cm) while Figure A2 shows how much of the cabbage was left after the 24 hours.
*Figure B1 shows the weight of the cabbage as a whole (1cm x 1cm) while Figure B2 shows how much of the cabbage was left after the 24 hour period.
How The Work Was Divided
Priscilla: Wrote the Hypothesis, Variables, Conclusion, took down our observations and data on paper.

Deborah: Wrote the Introduction, Abstract, Data Table, Results, Bibliography.

Quinnie: Wrote the Materials, Procedure, Pictures, Created the Prezi design, took pictures during experiment, brought supplies to conduct experiment.

We all collected pill bugs, ran the trials and peer edited the lab report to ensure a Prezi free of typos and possibly errors.
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