Information Processing in Social Insects

  • Claire Detrain
  • Jean Louis Deneubourg
  • Jacques M. Pasteels

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages I-XIV
  2. Group size and information flow inside the colony

  3. Role and control of behavioral thresholds

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 113-113
    2. Samuel N. Beshers, Gene E. Robinson, Jay E. Mittenthal
      Pages 115-139
    3. Zhi-Yong Huang, Gene E. Robinson
      Pages 165-186
    4. Robin F. A. Moritz, Robert E. Page Jr.
      Pages 203-215
  4. The individual at the core of information management

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 217-217
    2. Alain Lenoir, Dominique Fresneau, Christine Errard, Abraham Hefetz
      Pages 219-237
    3. Simon K. Robson, James F. A. Traniello
      Pages 239-259
    4. Vincent J. L. Fourcassié, Bertrand Schatz, Guy Beugnon
      Pages 261-275
    5. Bernhard Ronacher, Rüdiger Wehner
      Pages 277-286
  5. Amplification of information and emergence of collective patterns

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 287-287
    2. Guy Theraulaz, Eric Bonabeau, Jean-Louis Deneubourg
      Pages 309-330
    3. Claire Detrain, Jean-Louis Deneubourg, Jacques M. Pasteels
      Pages 331-354
    4. Terrence D. Fitzgerald, James T. Costa
      Pages 379-400
    5. Jean-Louis Deneubourg, Scott Camazine, Claire Detrain
      Pages 401-407
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 409-415

About this book


Claire Detrain, Jean-Louis Deneubourg and Jacques Pasteels Studies on insects have been pioneering in major fields of modern biology. In the 1970 s, research on pheromonal communication in insects gave birth to the dis­ cipline of chemical ecology and provided a scientific frame to extend this approach to other animal groups. In the 1980 s, the theory of kin selection, which was initially formulated by Hamilton to explain the rise of eusociality in insects, exploded into a field of research on its own and found applications in the under­ standing of community structures including vertebrate ones. In the same manner, recent studies, which decipher the collective behaviour of insect societies, might be now setting the stage for the elucidation of information processing in animals. Classically, problem solving is assumed to rely on the knowledge of a central unit which must take decisions and collect all pertinent information. However, an alternative method is extensively used in nature: problems can be collectively solved through the behaviour of individuals, which interact with each other and with the environment. The management of information, which is a major issue of animal behaviour, is interesting to study in a social life context, as it raises addi­ tional questions about conflict-cooperation trade-oft's. Insect societies have proven particularly open to experimental analysis: one can easily assemble or disassemble them and place them in controllable situations in the laboratory.


behavior ecology insect insects methodology

Editors and affiliations

  • Claire Detrain
    • 1
  • Jean Louis Deneubourg
    • 1
  • Jacques M. Pasteels
    • 1
  1. 1.Université Libre de BruxellesBruxellesBelgium

Bibliographic information