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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Charleston, South Carolina » Vegetable Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #71860


item Jackson, D

Submitted to: Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/31/1997
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: The feeding behavior of leaf-piercing insects can be studied by recording the changes in electrical resistance across their mouth parts when a voltage is applied to the insect. This method is called electronic monitoring of insect feeding behavior (EMIF). EMIF recordings can be subdivided into distinct wave patterns that are associated with behaviors. In the past, EMIF recordings were printed out on paper and analyzed by hand. Later, researchers developed their own computer programs to take over this part. However, each of these systems had certain drawbacks. We developed a method to analyze EMIF recordings that uses two commercially available computer programs. The first one is WinDaq, a generic data-acquisition program. The second program is Microsoft Excel, a spreadsheet. Wave patterns are identified, marked, and saved in WinDaq and copied into a custom-designed Excel file in which the recording is automatically analyzed. Results are summarized and formatted for further statistical analysis. We timed all steps needed to complete a typical analysis and found that it takes an average of 3 minutes. This EMIF analysis method is fast and can be used to analyze feeding behavior of many leaf-piercing insect species. In addition, it is compatible with EMIF systems that use either AC or DC current.

Technical Abstract: Historically, a bottleneck in the analysis of Electronically Monitored Feeding behavior (EMIF) of Homopteran insects has been the conversion of raw waveform data into a format that can be easily analyzed. In the past, EMIF recordings had to be printed onto paper strip charts so waveform frequencies and durations could be measured manually. Several researchers developed their own software, but these systems have some drawbacks. In this paper, we present a new method for waveform analysis using commercially available software. Waveforms are identified, separated, and saved in WinDaq (Dataq Instruments, Inc.). The resulting data file is then copied into a custom-designed Microsoft Excel spreadsheet workbook, where it is automatically analyzed. Results are presented in a format that can be used for further statistical analysis. This Excel EMIF-analysis workbook has a number of advantages: it can be tailored to sets of waveforms generated by various homopteran species; it is compatible with data-acquisition software capable of exporting waveform codes and accumulative time; it can be used for the analysis of recordings made with either AC or DC EMIF systems; and it is a fast method (the analysis of an average data file takes approx. 3 minutes).