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The use of model organisms is important in understanding biological processes as they are easy to take care of in a lab environment, they have a short generation time, and help explore basic biological principles. Insects are useful model organisms for studying behavior because gaining knowledge on simple neurological systems can help explain more complex neurological systems. Trichoplusia ni is an insect for which much is known about the life cycle, husbandry, and ability to survive in captivity, which makes them an excellent candidate as a model organism for studying behavioral changes in a controlled environment. To our knowledge, there is no existing ethogram for, and our plan is to develop this detailed behavioral analysis to compare to further research endeavors where unique perturbations are introduced. In a controlled, replicable environment, two sets of behavioral paradigms will be characterized. The first set of paradigms will involve the study of single organisms whilst the second set of paradigms will involve the study of two organisms to test competition behaviors. Video recordings will be taken, studied, and behaviors quantified by multiple coders to formulate a complete ethogram of behaviors with a high inter-rater reliability. Our hypothesis is that will exhibit different behaviors with two individuals, relative to one individual, due to the competition for food and space. Our research is currently underway, and we are in the process of troubleshooting tracking software, ToxTrac. Our long-term goal is to use the results of this research to compare the behavior of parasitized and non-parasitized We are motivated to study this as parasitism is known to cause behavioral changes in other species and we would like to elucidate this in


File nameDate UploadedVisibilityFile size
19 Jul 2022
39.5 MB



  • Subject
    • Biology

  • Institution
    • Dahlonega

  • Event location
    • Poster Session

  • Event date
    • 26 March 2021

  • Date submitted

    19 July 2022

  • Additional information
    • Acknowledgements:

      Ryan Shanks, Erin Barding, and Margaret Smith