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ARS Home » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #114328


item Hagler, James
item Jackson, Charles

Submitted to: Annual Review of Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/1/2001
Publication Date: 1/1/2001
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: A reliable method for marking animals is often a key component in biological studies of animal biology, ethology, and demography. Hundreds if not thousands of studies that required some way to label insects have been conducted, but the search for a universal marker has proven to be a challenging quest. An ideal marking material is durable, inexpensive, non-toxic (to the insect and the environment), easily applied, and clearly identifiable. Furthermore, the marker should not hinder or irritate the insect or affect its normal behavior, growth, reproduction or lifespan. In this review we provide readers with broad examples of many of the insect marking techniques that have been used, and provide an overview of the advantages, disadvantages and limitations of each technique.

Technical Abstract: Tracking the movement of insects in their natural habitat is essential for understanding their basic biology, demography, and ethology. A wide variety of markers have been used to assess insect population dynamics, dispersal, territoriality, feeding behavior, trophic level interactions, and other ecological interactions. The ideal marker should persist without tinhibiting the insect's "normal" biology. Furthermore, the marker should be environmentally safe, cost effective, and easy to use. In this article, we review the current state of knowledge regarding insect marking, document the advantages and limitations of each marking technique, and discuss advances made in marking insects over the past decade.