1 Tahrcountry Musings: Cockroaches Make Collective Decision

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Cockroaches Make Collective Decision

A study published in the latest edition of Springer journal Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology fascinated me no end. It is about collective decisions taken by cockroaches. It clearly demonstrated that groups of cockroaches can forage for food collectively, rather than independently.
According to Dr Mathieu Lihoreau from Queen Mary's School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, who led the research, Cockroaches cost our economy millions of pounds in wasted food and perishable products. Better understanding of how they seek out our food would allow us to develop better pest control measures,
In the experiments cockroaches (Blattella germanica) were released into an enclosure, where they could choose between one of two piles of food. The majority of the cockroaches fed solely on one piece of food.
The researchers say these observations coupled with simulations of a mathematical model indicate that cockroaches communicate through close contact when they are on the food source.
The scientist presumes that cockroaches use a 'foraging pheromone' to communicate. But they are yet to identify it. Once identified, a man-made 'foraging pheromone' could be used to improve pest control.

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