Image analysis of small animal feeding behavior

Marc Rowley, Joe Stitt, Frank Hanson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The optimal design of behavioral experiments includes measures to minimize observer bias while maximizing researcher efficiency. To this end, we have developed a reliable, autonomous monitor of animal feeding behavior. Previous studies of caterpillar (Manduca sexta) feeding have relied on human observation for visual evaluation of food consumption at specific time points over the course of several hours. This method is eliminated by our new behavior rig, which collects data automatically. Individual animals are monitored via CCD cameras activated in sequence by a computer. Images are obtained at preset time intervals using a frame grabber to capture still pictures from the cameras. Subsequently, images are analyzed using software written in MatLab to determine food selection and quantify consumption.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)447-451
Number of pages5
JournalBehavior Research Methods, Instruments, and Computers
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)


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