Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 65, Issue 2, pp 265–273

Group structure in locust migratory bands

  • Jerome Buhl
  • Gregory A. Sword
  • Fiona J. Clissold
  • Stephen J. Simpson
Original Paper

Abstract

Locust swarms are spectacular and damaging manifestations of animal collective movement. Here, we capture fundamental features of locust mass movement in the field, including a strongly non-linear relationship between collective alignment and density known only from earlier theoretical models and laboratory experiments. Migratory bands had a distinct structure, with a single high-density peak at the front, where collective alignment was high, followed by an exponential decay in density. As predicted by theory, alignment decreased with decreasing density, and fluctuations of movement direction became large until order amongst group members at the back of the band was totally lost. Remarkably, we found that the coordinated movement of migratory bands, which can be several kilometres wide and contain many millions of individuals, results from interactions occurring at a scale of 13.5 cm or less. Our results indicate that locust band structure and dynamics differ markedly from what is known (or assumed) about other large moving groups such as fish schools or bird flocks, yet they still conform to key general predictions made by collective movement models that explain how billions of individuals can align using local interactions.

Keywords

Collective behaviour Collective movement Locusts Migration 

References

  1. Anstey ML, Rogers SM, Ott SR, Burrows M, Simpson SJ (2009) Serotonin mediates behavioral gregarization underlying swarm formation in desert locusts. Science 323:627–630CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Baldassare G (2008) Self-Organization as phase transition in decentralized groups of robots: a study based on boltzmann entropy. In: Prokopenko M (ed) Advances in applied self-organizing systems part II. Springer, London, pp 127–146CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Ballerini M, Cabibbo N, Candelier R, Cavagna A, Cisbani E, Giardina I, Lecomte V, Orlandi A, Parisi G, Procaccini A, Viale M, Zdravkovic V (2008a) Interaction ruling animal collective behavior depends on topological rather than metric distance: evidence from a field study. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 105:1232–1237CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Ballerini M, Cabibbo N, Candelier R, Cavagna A, Cisbani E, Giardina I, Orlandi A, Parisi G, Procaccini A, Viale M, Zdravkovic V (2008b) Empirical investigation of starling flocks: a benchmark study in collective animal behaviour. Anim Behav 76:201–215CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bazazi S, Buhl J, Hale JJ, Anstey ML, Sword GA, Simpson SJ, Couzin ID (2008) Collective motion and cannibalism in locust migratory bands. Curr Biol 18:735–739CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Becco C, Vandewalle N, Delcourt J, Poncin P (2006) Experimental evidences of a structural and dynamical transition in fish school. Phys A 367:487–493CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Buhl J, Sumpter DJT, Couzin ID, Hale J, Despland E, Miller ER, Simpson SJ (2006) From disorder to order in marching locusts. Science 312:1402–1406CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Bumann D, Krause J, Rubenstein D (1997) Mortality risk of spatial positions in animal groups: the danger of being in the front. Behaviour 134:1063–1076CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chate H, Ginelli F, Gregoire G, Raynaud F (2008) Collective motion of self-propelled particles interacting without cohesion. Phys Rev E 77:046113CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Clark LR (1949) Behaviour of swarm hoppers of the Australian plague locust (Chortoicetes terminifera Walk.). CSIRO Bull 245:1–27Google Scholar
  11. Collett M, Despland E, Simpson SJ, Krakauer DC (1998) Spatial scales of desert locust gregarization. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 95:13052–13055CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Couzin ID, Krause J (2003) Self-organization and collective behavior of vertebrates. Adv Stud Behav 32:1–75CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Despland E, Simpson SJ (2006) Resource distribution mediates synchronization of physiological rhythms in locust groups. Proc R Soc B 273:1517–1522CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Diggle P (2003) Statistical analysis of spatial point patterns, 2nd edn. Arnold, LondonGoogle Scholar
  15. Ellis PE, Ashall C (1957) Field studies on diurnal behaviour, movement and aggregation in the Desert Locust (Schistocerca gregaria Forsk.). AntiLocust Bull 25:1–103Google Scholar
  16. Freon P, Gerlotto F, Soria M (1992) Changes in school structure according to external stimuli: description and influence on acoustic assessment. Fish Res 15:45–66CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Gautrais J, Jost C, Soria M, Campo A, Motsch S, Fournier R, Blanco S, Theraulaz G (2009) Analyzing fish movement as a persistent turning walker. J Math Biol 58:429–445CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Gerlotto F, Paramo J (2003) The three-dimensional morphology and internal structure of clupeid schools as observed using vertical scanning multibeam sonar. Aquat Living Resour 16:113–122CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Giardina I (2008) Collective behavior in animal groups: theoretical models and empirical studies. HFSP J 2:204–219CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Gray LJ, Sword GA, Anstey ML, Clissold FJ, Simpson SJ (2009) Behavioural phase polyphenism in the Australian plague locust (Chortoicetes terminifera). Biol Lett 5:306–309CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Gregoire G, Chate H, Tu YH (2003) Moving and staying together without a leader. Phys D 181:157–170CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hanisch K-H (1984) Some remarks on estimators of the distribution function of nearest-neighbour distance in stationary spatial point patterns. Statistics 15:409–412CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hemelrijk CK, Hildenbrandt H (2008) Self-organized shape and frontal density of fish schools. Ethology 114:245–254CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hemelrijk CK, Kunz H (2005) Density distribution and size sorting in fish schools: an individual-based model. Behav Ecol 16:178–187CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hildenbrandt H, Carere C, Hemelrijk CK (2009) Self-organised complex aerial displays of thousands of starlings: a model. In: arXiv:09082677v1 (Available at http://arxiv.org/abs/0908.2677)
  26. Holt J, Cooper JF (2006) A model to compare the suitability of locust hopper targets for control by insecticide barriers. Ecol Model 195:273–280CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Hunter DM (2004) Advances in the control of locusts (Orthoptera: Acrididae) in eastern Australia: from crop protection to preventive control. Aust J Entomol 43:293–303CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Hunter DM, McCulloch L, Spurgin PA (2008) Aerial detection of nymphal bands of the Australian plague locust (Chortoicetes terminifera (Walker)) (Orthoptera: Acrididae). Crop Prot 27:118–123CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Lecoq M, Foucart A, Balança G (1999) Behaviour of Rhammatocerus schistocercoides (Rehn, 1906) hopper bands in Mato Grosso, Brazil (Orthoptera: Acrididae, Gomphocerinae). Ann Soc Entomol Fr 35:217–228Google Scholar
  30. Lorch PD, Sword GA, Gwynne DT, Anderson GL (2005) Radiotelemetry reveals differences in individual movement patterns between outbreak and non-outbreak Mormon cricket populations. Ecol Entomol 30:548–555CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Motsch S (2009) Modélisation mathématique des déplacements d'animaux et dérivation de modèles macroscopiques. University of Toulouse III - Paul Sabatier, PhD Thesis in French and English (available at http://www.math.univ-toulouse.fr/~motsch/thesis_motsch.pdf )
  32. Nagy M, Daruka I, Vicsek T (2007) New aspects of the continuous phase transition in the scalar noise model (SNM) of collective motion. Phys A 373:445–454CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Partridge BL, Pitcher TJ, Cullen JM, Wilson J (1980) The three-dimensional structure of fish schools. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 6:277–288CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Pener MP, Simpson SJ (2009) Locust phase polyphenism: an update. Adv Insect Physiol 36:1–286CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Simpson SJ, Sword GA (2009) Phase polyphenism in locusts: mechanisms, population consequences, adaptive significance and evolution. In: Whitman D, Ananthakrishnan TN (eds) Phenotypic plasticity of insects: mechanisms and consequences. Science Publishers Inc, Plymouth, pp 93–135Google Scholar
  36. Sword GA (2005) Local population density and the activation of movement in migratory band-forming Mormon crickets. Anim Behav 69:437–444CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Sword GA, Lorch PD, Gwynne DT (2005) Migratory bands give crickets protection. Nature 433:703CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. Sword GA, Lorch PD, Gwynne DT (2008) Radiotelemetric analysis of the effects of prevailing wind direction on Mormon cricket migratory band movement. Environ Entomol 37:889–896CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  39. Szabo B, Szollosi GJ, Gonci B, Juranyi Z, Selmeczi DVT (2006) Phase transition in the collective migration of tissue cells: experiment and model. Phys Rev E 74:061908CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Uvarov BP (1977) Grasshoppers and locusts. A handbook of general acridology. Vol. 2. Behaviour, ecology, biogeography, population dynamics. Centre for Overseas Pest Research, LondonGoogle Scholar
  41. Vicsek T, Czirok A, Ben-Jacob E, Cohen I, Shochet O (1995) Novel type of phase transition in a system of self-driven particles. Phys Rev Lett 75:1226–1229CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  42. Yates CA, Erban R, Escudero C, Couzin ID, Buhl J, Kevrekidis IG, Maini PK, Sumpter DJ (2009) Inherent noise can facilitate coherence in collective swarm motion. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 106:5464–5469CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jerome Buhl
    • 1
  • Gregory A. Sword
    • 1
  • Fiona J. Clissold
    • 1
  • Stephen J. Simpson
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Biological Sciences and Centre for Mathematical Biology SydneyAustralia

Personalised recommendations