, Volume 63, Issue 6, pp 1079-1093

Model of droplet dynamics in the Argentine ant Linepithema humile (Mayr)

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The formation of droplets of ants Linepithema humile (Mayr) is observed under certain experimental conditions: a fluctuating aggregate forms at the end of a rod and a droplet containing up to 40 ants eventually falls down. When the flux of incoming ants is sufficient, this process can continue for several hours, leading to the formation and fall of tens of droplets. Previous work indicates that the time series of drop-to-drop intervals may result from a nonlinear low-dimensional dynamics, and the interdrop increments exhibit long-range anticorrelations. A model of aggregation and droplet formation, based on experimental observations, is introduced and shown to reproduce these properties.