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Doktor
10 Jul 14,, 16:15
Dated, but

a) the info was news to me.

b) loved the pic.

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Cockroaches govern themselves in a very simple democracy where each insect has equal standing and group consultations precede decisions that affect the entire group, indicates a new study.

The research determines that cockroach decision-making follows a predictable pattern that could explain group dynamics of other insects and animals, such as ants, spiders, fish and even cows.

Cockroaches are silent creatures, save perhaps for the sound of them scurrying over a countertop. They must therefore communicate without vocalising.

"Cockroaches use chemical and tactile communication with each other," says Dr Jos Halloy, who co-authored the research in the current Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"They can also use vision," says Halloy, a scientist in the Department of Social Ecology at the Free University of Brussels in Belgium.

"When they encounter each other they recognise if they belong to the same colony thanks to their antennae that are 'nooses', that is, sophisticated olfactory organs that are very sensitive," he says.

Give me shelter

Halloy tested cockroach group behaviour by placing the insects in a dish that contained three shelters. The test was to see how the cockroaches would divide themselves into the shelters.

After much "consultation", through antenna probing, touching and more, the cockroaches divided themselves up perfectly.

For example, if 50 insects were placed in a dish with three shelters, each with a capacity for 40 bugs, 25 roaches huddled together in the first shelter, 25 gathered in the second shelter, and the third was left vacant.

When the researchers altered this set-up so that it had three shelters with a capacity for more than 50 insects, all the cockroaches moved into the first "house".

A delicate balance

Halloy and his colleagues found that a balance existed between cooperation and competition for resources.

"Cockroaches are gregarious insects [that] benefit from living in groups. It increases their reproductive opportunities, [promotes] sharing of resources like shelter or food, prevents desiccation by aggregating more in dry environments, etc," he says.

"So what we show is that these behavioural models allow them to optimise group size."

The models are so predictable that they could explain other insect and animal group behaviours, such as how some fish and bugs divide themselves up so neatly into subgroups, and how certain herding animals make simple decisions that do not involve leadership.

Important research

Dr David Sumpter, a University of Oxford zoologist, says the new study "is an excellent paper" and "important".

"It looks both at the mechanisms underlying decision-making by animals and how those mechanisms produce a distribution of animals amongst resource sites that optimises their individual fitness," he says.

"Much previous research has concentrated on either mechanisms or optimality at the expense of the other."

For cockroaches, it seems, cooperation comes naturally.

Nightowl
10 Jul 14,, 19:31
Ants also show decision making skills. As a group they can make complex decisions, based on small interactions and decisions by individuals that eventually lead to changes in general group behaviour. They are looking into possible uses in computing, perhaps cockroach behaviour can be used in politics :p

It's facinating what we can learn from the insect world.

tantalus
11 Jul 14,, 00:02
Reminds me of a quote by the great american biologist, E.O. Wilson...

“Karl Marx was right, socialism works, it is just that he had the wrong species”

Of course he was talking about ants, not cockroaches, who exhibit social cooperation at a much greater level of complexity in their Queen-dominated communities.

Unlike cockroaches, ants possess an unusual genetic arrangement whereby the males develop from an unfertilized egg and are therefore haploid, possessing only a single set of chromosomes, never having had a father. If the queen mates with only one ant, all offspring will statistically share half of the genes from the female side of the chromosome set but all of the male side as their is only 1 (the single grandfather) and they all must have it. It's a little confusing, but what it means is that worker ants, can in theory, share 0.75 genetic relatedness with each other, whereas on average they would share 0.5 genetic relatedness with any potential offspring, therefore mathematically facilitating a motivation to forego reproduction for the sake of the colony. This is perhaps a major reason for the behaviour of ants, wasps and bees.

In the case of the cockroaches, they all reproduce for themselves, so there is a far greater limit on any scope for cooperation and sadly for us too.

Well maybe not too sad...:tongue:

Double Edge
11 Jul 14,, 00:45
What i learnt in my battles against roaches

- they like water, leaky taps is an invitation.
- they like darkness
- they enjoy each others company
- they are cannibals


Ants also show decision making skills. As a group they can make complex decisions, based on small interactions and decisions by individuals that eventually lead to changes in general group behaviour. They are looking into possible uses in computing, perhaps cockroach behaviour can be used in politics :p

It's facinating what we can learn from the insect world.
Aka swarming, already in use.

tantalus
11 Jul 14,, 01:28
Reminds me of a quote by the great american biologist, E.O. Wilson...

“Karl Marx was right, socialism works, it is just that he had the wrong species”

Of course he was talking about ants, not cockroaches, who exhibit social cooperation at a much greater level of complexity in their Queen-dominated communities.

Unlike cockroaches, ants possess an unusual genetic arrangement whereby the males develop from an unfertilized egg and are therefore haploid, possessing only a single set of chromosomes, never having had a father. If the queen mates with only one ant, all offspring will statistically share half of the genes from the female side of the chromosome set but all of the male side as their is only 1 (the single grandfather) and they all must have it. It's a little confusing, but what it means is that worker ants, can in theory, share 0.75 genetic relatedness with each other, whereas on average they would share 0.5 genetic relatedness with any potential offspring, therefore mathematically facilitating a motivation to forego reproduction for the sake of the colony. This is perhaps a major reason for the behaviour of ants, wasps and bees.

In the case of the cockroaches, they all reproduce for themselves, so there is a far greater limit on any scope for cooperation and sadly for us too.

Well maybe not too sad...:tongue:
Having reread that I realize its very confusing , to clarify, female worker ants are more closely related to each other (sisters) than to any potential offspring. Therefore help the queen reproduce, instead of reproducing oneself, as the older sisters she reproduces (who are potential future queens) would be more closely related than any direct offspring.

lemontree
11 Jul 14,, 10:12
Our politicians have also learn't so much from insects....some follow blood suckers like mosquitoes, some go after flowers like bees,...:rolleyes:

tankie
11 Jul 14,, 11:07
/\ beat me to it L/T :biggrin:

Batista
11 Jul 14,, 11:46
Ants also show decision making skills. As a group they can make complex decisions, based on small interactions and decisions by individuals that eventually lead to changes in general group behaviour. They are looking into possible uses in computing, perhaps cockroach behaviour can be used in politics :p

It's facinating what we can learn from the insect world.

Ants are one of the best examples of Team Work and Hard Work to get over obstacles.

Here is one small example how they create a Ant Bridge over water.


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