Automated monitoring and analysis of social behavior in Drosophila. Dankert, Wang, Hoopfer, Anderson, Perona. Nature Methods 2009.


  1. Machine vision approach to studying aggresion and courtship in flies.
    1. Computes location, orientation, and wing posture
  2. “Ethograms may be constructed automatically from these measurements, saving considerable time and effort.”
  3. “Both aggression and courtship consist of rich ensembles of stereotyped behaviors, which often unfold in a characteristic sequence.”
  4. Approach automates a task that was previously done by hand, so saves labor and is more objective, and may pick up on smaller or shorter-duration details
  5. Being able to study behavior in minute detail will allow better analysis of impact of genetics and environment on behavior
  6. Each video frame corresponds to 25 measurements/features like pose, velocity, wing pose, (size as well because it determines male/female, other special markings like a dot are used for male-male interaction) etc…
  7. Able to identify a number of different high-level actions/behaviors like fighting, courting (accuracy was 90+%)
  8. They then looked if they could pick up on behavioral changes by suppressing some neurons that had previously been determined to reduce aggressive behavior, and they were able to confirm the same result, looked at mutants as well
  9. System allows for visualization of behavior in a number of ways, such as by making histograms or graphs depicting transitions between behaviors with weights
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