Collision avoidance during group evasive manoeuvres: a comparison of real versus simulated swarms with manipulated vision and surface wave detectors

W. L. Romey, M. M. Miller, J. M. Vidal
  • Proceedings of The Royal Society B Biological Sciences, June 2014, Royal Society Publishing
  • DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2014.0812

Antennae are more important than eyes to stop insects from bumping into each other in swarms

What is it about?

We did an experiment to understand how eyes vs. antennae coordinate swarm responses in whirligigs. Eyes or antennae were blocked and a swarm response called a flash expansion was measured. The lack of eyes did not greatly change the swarm response. However, the lack of antennae did hinder the swarm response. These responses were also simulated under different attraction repulsion rules that mimicked the lack of eyes or antennae.

Why is it important?

This is one of the first experiments that compares how different senses are used in the attraction and repulsion of animals within groups. It is also unique in that the experiment was paired with a grouping simulation model to understand the response. Finally, it highlights a unique method of communication between animals: the ripple waves at the surface of the water.

The following have contributed to this page: Dr William L Romey