Individual Discrimination Capability and Collective Choice in Social Insects
In an ant society individuals coming from different groups (lines, strains) bear it own chemical identity and those individuals present discrimination capabilities between different chemical profiles. However, at the collective level these groups may cooperate and act together. To understand this apparent contradiction we have to keep in mind that amplification is the main component of many collective phenomena in social and gregarious insects. We use a model of food recruitment where each group of foragers have its own blend of pheromone trail that is partly recognized by the others groups. We found that a low level of recognition between signals is sufficient to produce a collaborative pattern between groups and that beyond a critical value of recognition. The aggregation of all the groups around the same food source is observed. Such collective response is a generic property of social phenomena governed by amplification processes.
KeywordsSocial Insect Aggregative State Cuticular Hydrocarbon Trail Pheromone Collective Choice
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