A cellular neural network (CNN) based edge detector optimized by differential evolution (DE) algorithm is presented. Cloning template of the proposed CNN is adaptively tuned by using simple training images. The performance of the proposed edge detector is evaluated on different test images and compared with popular edge detectors from the literature. Simulation results indicate that the proposed CNN operator outperforms competing edge detectors and offers Superior performance in edge detection in digital images. (C) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.