Designed for high throughput
EntoLab was originally designed as a high-throughput system for phenotyping plant resistance against chewing or sucking insects through video tracking of insect behavior. Hundreds of plant genotypes can be compared in a few days using assay plates with up to 300 individual arenas. Assay plates are designed to accommodate (pieces of) leaves, and all insects are released simultaneously on the substrate in their individual arena. Within minutes to hours, differential behavior statistics can be extracted that can be associated with underlying genetic differences or treatments of the plants. The homogeneous assay conditions generally require a replication level of only 5-15 insects per genotype, and the software automatically generates a statistical analysis of >30 behavioral parameters as potential indicators of genetic or treatment differences.
Gain deeper insights into insect behavior
The EntoLab system is a powerful tool for a broad and growing range of bioassays to investigate insect behavior in relation to aspects of diet (treatments, pesticides, etc.), olfactory cues, genetics (insects, plants, etc.), and foraging behavior of natural enemies. Data extracted are preference and time-resolved movement and pausing event categories (duration, frequency, speed, etc.). For example, the software can be set to detect slow and short micro-movements as categories that may be specifically associated with feeding (host acceptance) rather than searching. In this way, specific behavior patterns can be powerful distinctive traits requiring only a short observation time. You can thus gain deeper insights into what happens at the individual behavioral level, which allows you to produce better hypotheses on the mechanisms of biological effects and stronger associations with genetic factors.
Assay systems can be easily adapted to the requirements (e.g. size) of the specific insect and behavioral feature studied. Assay plates have been developed for both leaves and artificial diets.
Applications for 2-choice and no-choice setups
- Resistance against insects
- Surface structure preference
- Treatment effects
- Behavioral phenotyping
- Habitat tolerance (heat, cold, humidity, drought)
- Memory retention
- Quality control of mass-reared insects
- Tolerance development in insect populations
- Feeding preference (anti-feeding)
- Stomach action
- Contact toxicity
- Repellents (two-choice or multiple-choice)
- Olfaction: compound/headspace testing for attraction or repellence
- Associative learning
- Correlation to insect genetics
Screening plants for resistance to insect pests
Sucking insects, such as thrips, aphids and whiteflies, can have devastating effects in agriculture and horticulture due to both direct damage and virus transmission. Traditionally, these insect pests are controlled by repeated spraying of insecticides. However, the recent bans on neonicotinoids (neuro-active insecticides) in Europe and the United States, and health concerns about pesticides in general, are creating urgent calls for alternatives.