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Algorithms 2009, 2(2), 735-749; doi:10.3390/a2020735

Application of an Image Tracking Algorithm in Fire Ant Motion Experiment

*  and
National Center for Physical Acoustics (NCPA), University of Mississippi, 1 Coliseum Drive, University, MS 38677, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 26 March 2009 / Revised: 23 April 2009 / Accepted: 24 April 2009 / Published: 30 April 2009


An image tracking algorithm, which was originally used with the particle image velocimetry (PIV) to determine velocities of buoyant solid particles in water, is modified and applied in the presented work to detect motion of fire ant on a planar surface. A group of fire ant workers are put to the bottom of a tub and excited with vibration of selected frequency and intensity. The moving fire ants are captured with an image system that successively acquires image frames of high digital resolution. The background noise in the imaging recordings is extracted by averaging hundreds of frames and removed from each frame. The individual fire ant images are identified with a recursive digital filter, and then they are tracked between frames according to the size, brightness, shape, and orientation angle of the ant image. The speed of an individual ant is determined with the displacement of its images and the time interval between frames. The trail of the individual fire ant is determined with the image tracking results, and a statistical analysis is conducted for all the fire ants in the group. The purpose of the experiment is to investigate the response of fire ants to the substrate vibration. Test results indicate that the fire ants move faster after being excited, but the number of active ones are not increased even after a strong excitation.
Keywords: image tracking; image identification; fire ant; PIV; PTV image tracking; image identification; fire ant; PIV; PTV
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Gui, L.; Seiner, J.M. Application of an Image Tracking Algorithm in Fire Ant Motion Experiment. Algorithms 2009, 2, 735-749.

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