Marking Insects for Studying Ecology and Behavior
Insect ecology and behavior studies often occur in conditions that preclude visual observations. To assess insect dispersal, subterranean habits, feeding, and complex ecological relationships among diversified taxa, efficient markers (synonymous with labels and tags) are useful. An effective and versatile marker should have the following characteristics: easy to apply to large populations, minimal manipulation and trauma to the test insect(s), detectable without destroying or killing the insect sample, persist in the insect or community, and no adverse effects on the physical functions or behavior of the labeled organisms. A number of marking techniques have been used for insect tagging in behavior and ecology studies.
Visually Detected Markers
Visually detected markers include wire ties, paints, dyes, inks, powders, pollen, and spores that are fixed to the insects at least until sampling for tagged insects is completed. These methods, however, commonly suffer limitations. One study...
- Hagler JR, Cohen AC, Bradley-Dunlop D, Enriquez FJ (1992) New approach to mark insects for feeding and dispersal studies. Environ Entomol 21:20–25Google Scholar
- McKibben GH, Robbins JT (1996) Chemical fingerprinting of boll weevils using surface lipid analysis. In: Proceedings of the Beltwide Cotton Conferences. National Cotton Council, Memphis, Tennessee, pp 232–233Google Scholar
- Southwood TRE (1978) Ecological methods. (2nd edn) Chapman and Hall, LondonGoogle Scholar