Open field

Tools for tests with an

Open field

The open field test is a straight-forward test to investigate activity, anxiety-related behavior, and exploratory behavior in rodents. One interesting parameter is thigmotaxis; the more time the animal spends hugging the walls, the more anxious it probably is. Exploring the center of the arena, and how long it takes the animal to start doing so are used as measures of exploration or boldness.

Tools for tests with an Open field

Made for you

To conduct open field testing, you simply need an open field. While the arena can be pretty basic, you will need something that is easy to clean, durable, and suitable for video tracking if you want to easily and objectively collect data. Noldus open fields are available in standard sizes, but we can just as easily build something to your specifications. Think of variations in size, color, wall height, and shape. We also offer options such as detachable walls, partitions, and IR backlight. All mazes are available in a cost-efficient package deal including a computer and a full EthoVision XT software license for video tracking. This license can also be used for video tracking and the automation of other behavioral tests.

Circular maze  
Circular maze custom overview

Video tracking with Noldus mazes

All Noldus open fields are made from high-quality, non-reflective materials, which makes them ideal for video tracking with EthoVision XT. In addition, they can be fitted with an IR backlight in combination with an IR sensitive camera. This creates optimal contrast for superior video tracking results!

EthoVision XT video tracking software detects and tracks the center point, nose point, and tail base of mice and rats. This allows for the accurate measurement of an animal’s relative position. EthoVision XT also allows for the control of optional automated stimuli, such as light or sound.

arena definition open field test

Free e-book

Basic behavioral neuroscience in rodents

The open field is used to study locomotor behavior and sometimes also anxiety. Why and how is this test exactly used? And why is the open field important in behavioral batteries? In our behavioral neuroscience e-book we take you through the basics of this behavioral paradigm and suggest a step-by-step protocol for this test.


Customer quote

"EthoVision XT has dramatically improved my ability to incorporate extensive behavioral testing with one group of animals. It reduces the time needed to record and analyze behaviors while allowing for much more extensive analysis of behavior."

Dr. M. Hyer|Virginia Commonwealth University, USA


open field rodent testing in phenotyper

Open field rodent testing in PhenoTyper

If you already own a PhenoTyper or plan to do other experiments in the future, please also note that it is perfectly suitable for open field rodent testing. The great benefit of PhenoTyper over other open fields is that it includes (IR) lights, a camera, and stimuli in the top unit and can be easily equipped with equipment for other tests.


Alternative suppliers

Noldus mazes can be custom built to your specifications and are optimally suited for video tracking with EthoVision XT.  Alternatively, we also offer open fields from several suppliers such as Ugo Basile and Maze Engineers (availability may depend on your location).


Free case study

The influence of nutrients on Alzheimer's Disease mice behavior

Download this case study and learn to which extent long-term consumption of a specific multi-nutrient diet can modulate explorative- and anxiety-related behavior, and spatial learning and memory in transgenic mouse models for Alzheimer’s disease and vascular disorders.

Don't miss out on this informative case study!


Thigmotaxis analysis

A typical parameter in this test is thigmotaxis, which is when the animals spends a lot of time close the walls of the arena. This is seen as an anxiety-like response. Additionally, the latency to enter the center zone, or the number transitions and the time spent in different zones are of interest. EthoVision XT easily measures these parameters. 


Freezing and locomotion

Freezing, or immobility indicative of a fear response, can also be of interest. EthoVision XT has a specific way of measuring freezing that is in most cases much more reliable than simply measuring the immobility of the animal. Instead of tracking the animal and noticing when it is not moving or barely moving, activity detection detects changes in pixels from one video frame to the next.

General locomotor behavior is often taken into account, mostly to rule out it’s effect on test results. For example, when animals are less active due to treatment, this might falsely lead to the interpretation of high anxiety. However, when activity levels between the treatment groups don’t differ but thigmotaxis does, this is more likely an effect of the treatment. Intuitive data selection tools in EthoVision XT help you to easily pinpoint these effects. 


Dr. Prévôt: "If therapeutics work in rodents, they can potentially be beneficial for human pathology."

Dr. Thomas Prévôt from the University of Toronto is developing a new tool to assess anxiety-like and depressive-like behavior in rodents, in order to understand the underlying mechanisms of chronic stress exposure and how it changes either behavior but also molecular and cellular pathology, to mimic the human depression.

Watch the video to learn more about why he chooses Noldus' tools.


Relevant blogs

Don’t dwell on it… dive into zebrafish research!

Don’t dwell on it… dive into zebrafish research!

I recently wrote about other translations from rodent studies to zebrafish, such as the investigation of learning and memory and social behavior. Now it’s time to talk about anxiety and exploration.
Gut microbes: both cause and cure of autism?

Gut microbes: both cause and cure of autism?

Gut microbes can increase or decrease typical autism spectrum disorder behavior (stereotypies, social behavior, locomotion, and communication) via metabolites and influencing alternative gene splicing.
The many uses of the PhenoTyper

The many uses of the PhenoTyper

With its new top unit, the PhenoTyper is even more versatile than before. Follow in the footsteps of those who have already added the PhenoTyper to their lab and learn all about its varied applications.
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