Science News
from research organizations

Woodlice can calm their excited neighbors

Date:
June 11, 2015
Source:
PLOS
Summary:
Woodlice, familiar to the amateur gardeners, are easily observable living in groups sheltered under stones or barks. Research shows how a 'contagion' between the different behavioral states of woodlice may govern the stability of their groups.
Share:
FULL STORY

Woodlice are able to calm their excited neighbors according to findings made by Pierre Broly and Jean-Louis Deneubourg of the Free Brussels University (Belgium).

Woodlice, familiar to the amateur gardeners, are easily observable living in groups sheltered under stones or barks. Research published in PLOS Computational Biology shows how a 'contagion' between the different behavioral states of woodlice may govern the stability of their groups.

By combining experiments and mathematical model, the authors show that calm individuals reduced the excitation of their neighbors which become calm in their turn. It results from this social influence that the bigger the group, the greater the proportion of calm individuals. Therefore the groups are more cohesive and slowly disperse when the group is perturbed.

Harmless and easy to raise, the woodlice already represent a pedagogical model in many schools for the study of behaviors. The simple experimental procedure presented in this study can be easily reproducible with children in order to introduce the basic concepts of collective behavior and social interaction in group-living animals.


Story Source:

Materials provided by PLOS. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Pierre Broly, Jean-Louis Deneubourg. Behavioural Contagion Explains Group Cohesion in a Social Crustacean. PLOS Computational Biology, 2015; 11 (6): e1004290 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1004290

Cite This Page:

PLOS. "Woodlice can calm their excited neighbors." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 June 2015. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/06/150611144240.htm>.
PLOS. (2015, June 11). Woodlice can calm their excited neighbors. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 23, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/06/150611144240.htm
PLOS. "Woodlice can calm their excited neighbors." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/06/150611144240.htm (accessed May 23, 2017).

RELATED STORIES