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Zoology (Jena). 2003;106(3):169-71.

Automatic life-long monitoring of individual insect behaviour now possible.

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Department of Behavioral Physiology and Sociobiology, University of W├╝rzburg, Germany.


Automatic tracking and identification of individuals has the potential to revolutionize the study of insects, especially social insects, by opening up options for questions which could not be asked before. To achieve this we developed a reliable and cost-sensible RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) based solution that automatically recognises a virtually unlimited number (18 x 10(18) possible ID numbers) of individual insects down to the size of bees and ants. The data are collected automatically for any desired time span (if interesting, up to the entire life of the individual), pre-processed and saved in a database for further analysis. The usage of database techniques allows parallel data processing with a virtually unlimited number of parameter connections. ID numbers can be linked to any simultaneously recorded parameters of interest, e.g. spatial and temporal information as shown here for a bumblebee colony.

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