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Modelling locust foraging: How and why food affects group formation

Journal Article


Abstract


  • Locusts are short horned grasshoppers that exhibit two behaviour types depending on their local population density. These are: solitarious, where they will actively avoid other locusts, and gregarious where they will seek them out. It is in this gregarious state that locusts can form massive and destructive flying swarms or plagues. However, these swarms are usually preceded by the aggregation of juvenile wingless locust nymphs. In this paper we attempt to understand how the distribution of food resources affect the group formation process. We do this by introducing a multi-population partial differential equation model that includes non-local locust interactions, local locust and food interactions, and gregarisation. Our results suggest that, food acts to increase the maximum density of locust groups, lowers the percentage of the population that needs to be gregarious for group formation, and decreases both the required density of locusts and time for group formation around an optimal food width. Finally, by looking at foraging efficiency within the numerical experiments we find that there exists a foraging advantage to being gregarious.

Publication Date


  • 2021

Citation


  • Georgiou, F., Buhl, J., Green, J. E. F., Lamichhane, B., & Thamwattana, N. (2021). Modelling locust foraging: How and why food affects group formation. PLoS Computational Biology, 17(7). doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1008353

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-85109718754

Volume


  • 17

Issue


  • 7

Place Of Publication


Abstract


  • Locusts are short horned grasshoppers that exhibit two behaviour types depending on their local population density. These are: solitarious, where they will actively avoid other locusts, and gregarious where they will seek them out. It is in this gregarious state that locusts can form massive and destructive flying swarms or plagues. However, these swarms are usually preceded by the aggregation of juvenile wingless locust nymphs. In this paper we attempt to understand how the distribution of food resources affect the group formation process. We do this by introducing a multi-population partial differential equation model that includes non-local locust interactions, local locust and food interactions, and gregarisation. Our results suggest that, food acts to increase the maximum density of locust groups, lowers the percentage of the population that needs to be gregarious for group formation, and decreases both the required density of locusts and time for group formation around an optimal food width. Finally, by looking at foraging efficiency within the numerical experiments we find that there exists a foraging advantage to being gregarious.

Publication Date


  • 2021

Citation


  • Georgiou, F., Buhl, J., Green, J. E. F., Lamichhane, B., & Thamwattana, N. (2021). Modelling locust foraging: How and why food affects group formation. PLoS Computational Biology, 17(7). doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1008353

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-85109718754

Volume


  • 17

Issue


  • 7

Place Of Publication