A New Chamber for Studying the Behavior of Drosophila

PLoS One. 2010 Jan 27;5(1):e8793. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0008793.


Methods available for quickly and objectively quantifying the behavioral phenotypes of the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, lag behind in sophistication the tools developed for manipulating their genotypes. We have developed a simple, easy-to-replicate, general-purpose experimental chamber for studying the ground-based behaviors of fruit flies. The major innovative feature of our design is that it restricts flies to a shallow volume of space, forcing all behavioral interactions to take place within a monolayer of individuals. The design lessens the frequency that flies occlude or obscure each other, limits the variability in their appearance, and promotes a greater number of flies to move throughout the center of the chamber, thereby increasing the frequency of their interactions. The new chamber design improves the quality of data collected by digital video and was conceived and designed to complement automated machine vision methodologies for studying behavior. Novel and improved methodologies for better quantifying the complex behavioral phenotypes of Drosophila will facilitate studies related to human disease and fundamental questions of behavioral neuroscience.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / physiology*