Context-specific comparison of sleep acquisition systems in Drosophila. Academic Article uri icon


  • Sleep is conserved across phyla and can be measured through electrophysiological or behavioral characteristics. The fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, provides an excellent model for investigating the genetic and neural mechanisms that regulate sleep. Multiple systems exist for measuring fly activity, including video analysis and single-beam (SB) or multi-beam (MB) infrared (IR)-based monitoring. In this study, we compare multiple sleep parameters of individual flies using a custom-built video-based acquisition system, and commercially available SB- or MB-IR acquisition systems. We report that all three monitoring systems appear sufficiently sensitive to detect changes in sleep duration associated with diet, age, and mating status. Our data also demonstrate that MB-IR detection appeared more sensitive than the SB-IR for detecting baseline nuances in sleep architecture, while architectural changes associated with varying life-history and environment were generally detected across all acquisition types. Finally, video recording of flies in an arena allowed us to measure the effect of ambient environment on sleep. These experiments demonstrate a robust effect of arena shape and size as well as light levels on sleep duration and architecture, and highlighting the versatility of tracking-based sleep acquisition. These findings provide insight into the context-specific basis for choosing between Drosophila sleep acquisition systems, describe a novel cost-effective system for video tracking, and characterize sleep analysis using the MB-IR sleep analysis. Further, we describe a modified dark-place preference sleep assay using video tracking, confirming that flies prefer to sleep in dark locations.

published proceedings

  • Biol Open

altmetric score

  • 0.75

author list (cited authors)

  • Garbe, D. S., Bollinger, W. L., Vigderman, A., Masek, P., Gertowski, J., Sehgal, A., & Keene, A. C.

citation count

  • 53

complete list of authors

  • Garbe, David S||Bollinger, Wesley L||Vigderman, Abigail||Masek, Pavel||Gertowski, Jill||Sehgal, Amita||Keene, Alex C

publication date

  • October 2015