Encyclopedia of Entomology

2008 Edition
| Editors: John L. Capinera

Marking Insects for Studying Ecology and Behavior

  • Allan T. Showler
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-6359-6_1729

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...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Allan T. Showler
    • 1
  1. 1.USDA-ARS SARCWeslacoUSA