Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Variety is the spice of life for animal movement: Foraging animals tend to wander randomly

Date:
May 10, 2011
Source:
University of Leicester
Summary:
Scientists in the UK have discovered animals searching for food do not stick to a complicated pattern of movement as previously thought but tend to wander about randomly. It was previously believed that when searching for food, animals move in very peculiar way called a Lvy flight where they move small distances most of the time, but occasionally move a very long distance.

Aphids on a branch.
Credit: PiLensPhoto / Fotolia

Scientists at Royal Holloway, University of London and the University of Leicester have discovered animals searching for food do not stick to a complicated pattern of movement as previously thought but tend to wander about randomly.

It was previously believed that when searching for food, animals move in very peculiar way called a Lvy flight where they move small distances most of the time, but occasionally move a very long distance.

This idea was based on studies in which many animals, like albatrosses or sharks, were tracked. However scientists have been analysing video records of aphids, small sap-sucking insects to find out how they move and have discovered that they wander about randomly, much like inanimate molecules move, and some tend to walk much more than others. The study is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Dr Alla Mashanova, from the School of Biological Sciences at Royal Holloway, said: "It was the large variation between individuals -- with some moving very little and some moving a lot -- that previously created the impression of the Lvy flight."

The researchers recorded the length of movement by all the aphids and used this data to build two mathematical models to carry out a more detailed statistical analysis.

Dr Sergei Petrovskii, from the Department of Mathematics at Leicester says: "It is amazing how very simple mathematical models can sometimes be used to explain very complicated phenomena."

The researchers say understanding how animals move is important, for instance, for hunting, to design nature reserves and to predict pest outbreaks and understand the spread of diseases.

Professor Vincent Jansen from the School of Biological Sciences at Royal Holloway said: "Understanding individual variation is crucial for interpreting the collective movement patterns of animals. This research will open the way to better understand animal search and behaviour and work out how it has evolved."

This research was funded by the Biotechnologyv and Biological Sciences Research Council and The Leverhulme Trust.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Leicester. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Sergei Petrovskii, Alla Mashanova, Vincent A. A. Jansen. Variation in individual walking behavior creates the impression of a Lvy flight. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2011; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1015208108

Cite This Page:

University of Leicester. "Variety is the spice of life for animal movement: Foraging animals tend to wander randomly." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 May 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110509151238.htm>.
University of Leicester. (2011, May 10). Variety is the spice of life for animal movement: Foraging animals tend to wander randomly. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110509151238.htm
University of Leicester. "Variety is the spice of life for animal movement: Foraging animals tend to wander randomly." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110509151238.htm (accessed August 30, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) State health officials say testing has confirmed the presence of a killer amoeba in a water system serving three St. John the Baptist Parish towns. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Australian Sheep Gets Long Overdue Haircut

Raw: Australian Sheep Gets Long Overdue Haircut

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) Hoping to break the record for world's wooliest, Shaun the sheep came up 10 pounds shy with his fleece weighing over 50 pounds after being shorn for the first time in years. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Minds Blown: Scientists Develop Fish That Walk On Land

Minds Blown: Scientists Develop Fish That Walk On Land

Newsy (Aug. 28, 2014) Canadian scientists looking into the very first land animals took a fish out of water and forced it to walk. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Huge Ancient Wine Cellar Found In Israel

Huge Ancient Wine Cellar Found In Israel

Newsy (Aug. 28, 2014) An international team uncovered a large ancient wine celler that likely belonged to a Cannonite ruler. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins