Do you know how locusts swarm?

We’ve all seen incredible footage of locust swarms, but do you know why they cluster in such a way?

Scientists have been trying to understand collective behaviour for centuries and many hypothesised that there was some form of thought or information transfer when animals got close to each other.

Telepathy maybe?

The findings of this particular study blew everyone’s mind.

Locusts were put in a chamber and were let to walk in circles around the rim for 8 hours a day with an overhead camera filming their movements and interactions. There was also a system that could map their positions and orientations. 

When video footage was replayed and zoomed in, locusts were seen biting each other if they got to close.

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CANNIBALISM is the driving force of a swarm!

When food resources runs low, locusts crave for a particular concentration of salt and protein that they can only find in the blood and tissue of other locusts. They run away to avoid being eaten from behind and run forward to catch and devour the locusts ahead of them. This triggers the onset of these vast swarms that we see.

Nature truly baffles you, doesn’t it?

This was the story I shared for the Wired Symposium in class this week. Our task was to find an article from The Wired magazine and share it with the class in three minutes. I was flipping through the magazine, and being the sadistic being that I am, the word cannibalism popped out and I started reading this article and knew that this was the one I had to share.

There were so many  nuggets of information that were fascinating but three minutes did not suffice. If you want to learn about how other animals form groups or find out how animators have not only revolutionised Hollywood but have provided exceptional tools to study animal behaviour, read the article here!

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2 thoughts on “Do you know how locusts swarm?

  1. Having read this I thought it was extremely enlightening. I appreciate you taking the time and energy to put this content together. I once again find myself personally spending a lot of time both reading and leaving comments. But so what, it was still worthwhile!

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