A multi-camera field set-up for tracing foraging behaviour of small insects
Abstract: Field studies are necessary when testing the validity of laboratory study results on insect foraging behaviour in a natural context. The small size and high mobility of insects makes this a daunting task. Here a multi-camera field set-up, with 15 cameras, is introduced in combination with a basic colour marking technique and a simple method for video data extraction. The foraging behaviour of free-flying Cotesia glomerata wasps, larval parasitoids of Pieris brassicae, was tested in a semi-field study, with a 8 × 8 m field plot, in which a single host infested plant and 14 non-host (Mamestra brassicae) infested plants were positioned. After video data extraction, various behavioural parameters were created, focussing on specific aspects of insects foraging behaviour. This method can be used for a wide range of insects in various scientific disciplines, to test both fundamental and applied theories on insect foraging.