Spaces between insects in laboratory swarms move like insects in natural swarms

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Reynolds, A. M. 2023. Spaces between insects in laboratory swarms move like insects in natural swarms. EPL. 141 (1), p. 17001.

AuthorsReynolds, A. M.

Sparse swarms of flying insects show a high degree of spatial cohesion and are a form of collective animal behaviour; albeit one different from flocks and schools as they do not display ordered collective movements and under quiescent (laboratory) conditions long-range correlations are also absent. A better understanding of these outliers of collective behaviour may help to answer a long-standing open question in collective behaviour studies, namely ‘What is the signature that a group is ‘collective’? Even though dilute swarms of flying insects are mostly empty space no studies have reported on the dynamics of the spaces between swarming insects. Here I show that the spaces between insects (i.e., the centroids of empty tetrahedra formed by individuals and their 3 nearest neighbours) in laboratory swarms exhibit long range (maximal) correlations and novel dynamic scaling in common with insects in natural swarms. Spaces within laboratory swarms therefore move like insects in natural swarms. I thereby unify seemingly disparate behaviours as long range correlations between individuals are absent in laboratory swarms but present in natural swarms. With the aid of stochastic trajectory models of non-interacting insects I show that long range (maximal) correlations and the novel dynamic scaling arise generally and are not indicative of fine tuning. These results call for a re-evaluation of the importance of correlations and scaling in collective behaviours.

KeywordsInsects; Swarming; Collective behaviour
Year of Publication2023
Journal citation141 (1), p. 17001
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Open accessPublished as green open access
FunderBBSRC Industrial Strategy Challenge
Funder project or codeBBSRC Strategic Programme in Smart Crop Protection
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online04 Jan 2023
PublisherIOP Publishing Ltd

Permalink -

Restricted files

Accepted author manuscript

Under embargo indefinitely

11 total views
1 total downloads
9 views this month
0 downloads this month