Universality in ant behaviour

Kim Christensen, Dario Papavassiliou, Alexandre de Figueiredo, Nigel R Franks, Ana B Sendova-Franks

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

12 Citations (Scopus)


Prediction for social systems is a major challenge. Universality at the social level has inspired a unified theory for urban living but individual variation makes predicting relationships within societies difficult. Here, we show that in ant societies individual average speed is higher when event duration is longer. Expressed as a single scaling function, this relationship is universal because for any event duration an ant, on average, moves at the corresponding average speed except for a short acceleration and deceleration at the beginning and end. This establishes cause and effect within a social system and may inform engineering and control of artificial ones.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20140985
JournalJournal of the Royal Society Interface
Issue number102
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jan 2015


  • Acceleration
  • Algorithms
  • Animals
  • Ants
  • Behavior, Animal
  • Locomotion
  • Models, Biological
  • Social Behavior


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