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Annu Rev Entomol. 2019 Jan 7;64:35-50. doi: 10.1146/annurev-ento-011118-111923. Epub 2018 Sep 26.

The Ecology of Collective Behavior in Ants.

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Department of Biology, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305-5020, USA; email:


Nest choice in Temnothorax spp.; task allocation and the regulation of activity in Pheidole dentata, Pogonomyrmex barbatus, and Atta spp.; and trail networks in Monomorium pharaonis and Cephalotes goniodontus all provide examples of correspondences between the dynamics of the environment and the dynamics of collective behavior. Some important aspects of the dynamics of the environment include stability, the threat of rupture or disturbance, the ratio of inflow and outflow of resources or energy, and the distribution of resources. These correspond to the dynamics of collective behavior, including the extent of amplification, how feedback instigates and inhibits activity, and the extent to which the interactions that provide the information to regulate behavior are local or spatially centralized.


collective behavior; dynamics; feedback; regulation

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