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Radio-tracking Insects

Posted by David Moskowitz on September 10, 2009 at 9:44 AM

I just posted a few photos of some of the insects we have been radio-tracking with micro-transmitters. The transmitters are about half the size of pez candies and run off of the smallest available watch battery. They emit a beep every few seconds that we can pick-up with a special receiver and last for a few weeks.These micro-transmitters allow us for the first time ever to track the movements of individual insects, something that is critical to understanding their biology.


We have also tracked katydids at Barro Colorado Island at the Smithsonian Tropical Research institute on Barro Colorado Island and I'll post some of the them a bit later which ties in perfectly with a really cool event being held tomorrow night in the New York City area.


Tomorrow night is the First Annual NYC Cricket Crawl for Citizen Scientist's to help determine the species of katydids in NYC and the surrounding region. This is a really cool project being sponsored by the American Museum of Natural History and the New York Entomological Society and others. Everyone can participate and help the biologists gather important information about katydids. Not to mention, you'll be out at night listening to all the cool night sounds! The katydid survey is by ear and their is a great deal of useful information on the Discover life website at www.discoverlife.org\cricket\


The Friends of the East Brunswick Environmental Commission are running a Cricket Crawl expedition in our township parks, and anyone interested can come along, or do one in their town too.           


Basically, go out, listen for katydids at night, submit your information to the biologists running it, and have fun...sounds like a great Friday night to me!

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2 Comments

Reply Juan Camilo Cifuentes
9:52 PM on February 27, 2010 
Hello, I'm an agronomical engeneering student of National University of Colombia, and I'm really interested in the subject of radio-tracking of insects, because I see this as a great tool for understanding the dynamics
population, dispersal and insect preferences. This is a clear example
that can be used in the design of agroecosystems and as a tool to
know if, for example, establishing biological corridors can
encourage beneficial insect populations to improve practice
control of insect pests.

so I ask you if you can give me more information on this topic, how do these transmitters, the whole system or where can I get them. I want to raise my thesis on the subject.

Thank you very much for your help.
Reply richardbowcher
7:10 AM on April 29, 2010 
Radio Frequency IDentification (RFID) is an automatic identification method, allowing remote retrieval EX0-101 of identification codes from devices called RFID tags or transponders. An RFID tag is a small object, requiring no internal power source that can be attached to or mcdst incorporated into a product, animal, or person. These tags contain antennae that respond to prompts from an RFID transceiver by emitting a radio signal that checkpoint dumps codes for a unique ID. Recent progress in RFID technology has led to the miniaturization of such tags to sub-millimetre dimensions. These microtransponders, once activated by a well localised beam of light, emit a radio frequency identification code. The miniaturization of these tags, as well as their ultra light weight and low price, now permit the use of RFID for insect linux+ braindump identification. To make the most of these new possibilities, we will use the RFID system to investigate social insects.