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Study Reveals Mass Migration Of Mormon Crickets Driven By Hunger, Fear

Date:
March 2, 2006
Source:
Kent State University
Summary:
An international research team reports hunger for protein and salt, and a fear of cannibalism, drives the mass migration of Mormon crickets in western North America. The team's findings could lead to more environmentally friendly tactics for controlling large swarms of insects.
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An international team of researchers, including Kent State University professor Dr. Patrick D. Lorch, have revealed the motivating factors behind the seasonal mass migration of Mormon crickets in western North America.

The scientists report hunger for protein and salt, and a fear of cannibalism, drives the mass migration of Mormon crickets in western North America.

Throughout their seasonal migration, millions of Mormon crickets (relatives of locusts and grasshoppers) cover more than 50 miles of ground, destroying farmland and causing hazardous driving conditions along the way.

The research team, led by Dr. Stephen J. Simpson, conducted field observations and experimentation to determine that two driving forces are behind the migration: a need for protein and a fear of cannibalism.

Their results reveal a different model for collective motion, with the crickets' migration in effect a forced march. The constant threat of cannibalism from the rear appears to push the crickets' movement as much as the need to find protein and salt pulls it, researchers say.

The team's findings could lead to more environmentally friendly tactics for controlling large swarms of insects.

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Their findings were recently released by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


Story Source:

Materials provided by Kent State University. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Cite This Page:

Kent State University. "Study Reveals Mass Migration Of Mormon Crickets Driven By Hunger, Fear." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 March 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/03/060302174524.htm>.
Kent State University. (2006, March 2). Study Reveals Mass Migration Of Mormon Crickets Driven By Hunger, Fear. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 28, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/03/060302174524.htm
Kent State University. "Study Reveals Mass Migration Of Mormon Crickets Driven By Hunger, Fear." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/03/060302174524.htm (accessed May 28, 2017).

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