Journal of Insect Behavior

, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp 159–168 | Cite as

The self-organizing exploratory pattern of the argentine ant

  • J. -L. Deneubourg
  • S. Aron
  • S. Goss
  • J. M. Pasteels


Workers of the Argentine ant, Iridomyrmex humilis,start to explore a chemically unmarked territory randomly. As the exploratory front advances, other explorers are recruited and a trail extends from it to the nest. Whereas recruitment trails are generally constructed between two points, these exploratory trails have no fixed destination, and strongly resemble the foraging patterns of army ants. A minimal model shows how the exploratory pattern may be generated by the individual workers' simple trail-laying and -following behavior, illustrating how complex collective structures in insect colonies may be based on self-organization.

Key words

Iridomyrmex humilis Argentine ant exploration self-organization swarm pattern mathematical model 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. -L. Deneubourg
    • 1
  • S. Aron
    • 1
  • S. Goss
    • 1
  • J. M. Pasteels
    • 1
  1. 1.Unit of Behavioural EcologyUniversité Libre de BruxellesBruxellesBelgium

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