Accurately quantifying animal activity and movements is of fundamental importance in a broad range of disciplines, from biomedical research to behavioral ecology. In many instances, it is desirable to measure natural movements in controlled sensory environments in which the animals are not physically or chemically restrained, but their movements are nevertheless constrained to occur within a fixed volume. Here, we describe a novel device to quantify the movements of small animals in response to sensory stimulation. The device consists of an Arduino controlled inertial measurement unit that senses angular velocity (along three axes) of a suspended mesh enclosure that temporarily houses the animal subject. We validated the device by measuring the phonotaxis behavior of gravid female frogs in response to acoustic broadcasts of male mating calls. The system, as designed, proved effective at measuring natural movements made in response to acoustic stimulation.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by a National Science Foundation grant (IOS 1452831) to MAB.
- Animal behavior
- Animal enclosure
- Behavioral assay
- Inertial measurement unit