Mosquito swarms shear harden

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Reynolds, A. M. 2023. Mosquito swarms shear harden. European Physical Journal E. 46, p. 126.

AuthorsReynolds, A. M.

Recently Cavagna et al. [2023] documented the swarming behaviors of laboratory-based Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes. Here key observations from this 3D-video tracking study are reproduced by a minimally structured (maximum entropy) stochastic trajectory model. The modelling shows that in contrast with midge swarms which are a form of collective behavior, unperturbed mosquito swarms are more like collections of individuals that independently circulate around a fixed location. The modelling predicts the observed response Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes in wild swarms to varying wind speeds [Butail et al. 2013]. It is shown that this response can be attributed to shear hardening. This is because mosquitoes are found to be attracted to the centre of the swarm by an effective force that increases with increasing flight speed. Mosquitoes can therefore better resist the influence of environmental disturbances by increasing their flight speeds. This contrasts with other emergent mechanical-like properties of swarming which arise accidentally without a change in an individual’s behavior. The new results add to the growing realization that perturbations can drive swarms into more robust states.

KeywordsMosquitoes; Swarming; Stochastic modelling
Year of Publication2023
JournalEuropean Physical Journal E
Journal citation46, p. 126
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Open accessPublished as ‘gold’ (paid) open access
FunderBBSRC Industrial Strategy Challenge
Funder project or codeBBSRC Strategic Programme in Smart Crop Protection
Pathogen surveillance and monitoring
Publisher's version
Accepted author manuscript
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online08 Dec 2023
Publication process dates
Accepted15 Nov 2023

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