Two simple movement mechanisms for spatial division of labour in social insects

Thomas O Richardson, Nathalie I K A Stroeymeyt*, Alessandro Crespi, Laurent Keller*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
32 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Many animal species divide space into a patchwork of home ranges, yet there is little consensus on the mechanisms individuals use to maintain fidelity to particular locations. Theory suggests that animal movement could be based upon simple behavioural rules that use local information such as olfactory deposits, or global strategies, such as long-range biases toward landmarks. However, empirical studies have rarely attempted to distinguish between these mechanisms. Here, we perform individual tracking experiments on four species of social insects, and find that colonies consist of different groups of workers that inhabit separate but partially-overlapping spatial zones. Our trajectory analysis and simulations suggest that worker movement is consistent with two local mechanisms: one in which workers increase movement diffusivity outside their primary zone, and another in which workers modulate turning behaviour when approaching zone boundaries. Parallels with other organisms suggest that local mechanisms might represent a universal method for spatial partitioning in animal populations.
Original languageEnglish
Article number6985
Number of pages15
JournalNature Communications
Volume13
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
T.O.R. acknowledges funding by an EU Marie Curie Actions Fellowship, no. 30114. N.S. acknowledges funding by the European Research Council (ERC Starting Grant ‘DISEASE’, no. 802628). L.K. acknowledges funding by the Swiss NSF and the European Research Council (ERC Advanced Grants ‘Social Life’, no. 249375, and ‘resiliANT’, no. 741491). The computations were performed at the Vital-IT (http://www.vital-it.ch) Center for high-performance computing and at the Advanced Computing Research Centre of the University of Bristol. The authors thank Enrico Gavagnin, Thomas Gorochowski, Graham Thompson, Yuko Ulrich, Erik Frank, Tomas Kay, Danielle Mersch for useful comments, and Guillaume Cailleau (www.data-partner.ch) for the illustrations.

Funding Information:
T.O.R. acknowledges funding by an EU Marie Curie Actions Fellowship, no. 30114. N.S. acknowledges funding by the European Research Council (ERC Starting Grant ‘DISEASE’, no. 802628). L.K. acknowledges funding by the Swiss NSF and the European Research Council (ERC Advanced Grants ‘Social Life’, no. 249375, and ‘resiliANT’, no. 741491). The computations were performed at the Vital-IT ( http://www.vital-it.ch ) Center for high-performance computing and at the Advanced Computing Research Centre of the University of Bristol. The authors thank Enrico Gavagnin, Thomas Gorochowski, Graham Thompson, Yuko Ulrich, Erik Frank, Tomas Kay, Danielle Mersch for useful comments, and Guillaume Cailleau ( www.data-partner.ch ) for the illustrations.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s).

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Two simple movement mechanisms for spatial division of labour in social insects'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this