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Science. 2006 Jun 2;312(5778):1402-6.

From disorder to order in marching locusts.

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1
Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3PS, UK. jbuhl@usyd.edu.au

Abstract

Recent models from theoretical physics have predicted that mass-migrating animal groups may share group-level properties, irrespective of the type of animals in the group. One key prediction is that as the density of animals in the group increases, a rapid transition occurs from disordered movement of individuals within the group to highly aligned collective motion. Understanding such a transition is crucial to the control of mobile swarming insect pests such as the desert locust. We confirmed the prediction of a rapid transition from disordered to ordered movement and identified a critical density for the onset of coordinated marching in locust nymphs. We also demonstrated a dynamic instability in motion at densities typical of locusts in the field, in which groups can switch direction without external perturbation, potentially facilitating the rapid transfer of directional information.

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PMID:
16741126
DOI:
10.1126/science.1125142
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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