Collective selection of food patches in Drosophila
2016 (English)In: Journal of Experimental Biology, ISSN 0022-0949, E-ISSN 1477-9145, Vol. 219, no 5, 668-675 p.Article in journal (Refereed) PublishedText
The fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster has emerged as a model organism for research on social interactions. Although recent studies have described how individuals interact on foods for nutrition and reproduction, the complex dynamics by which groups initially develop and disperse have received little attention. Here we investigated the dynamics of collective foraging decisions by D. melanogaster and their variation with group size and composition. Groups of adults and larvae facing a choice between two identical, nutritionally balanced food patches distributed themselves asymmetrically, thereby exploiting one patch more than the other. The speed of the collective decisions increased with group size, as a result of flies joining foods faster. However, smaller groups exhibited more pronounced distribution asymmetries than larger ones. Using computer simulations, we show how these non-linear phenomena can emerge from social attraction towards occupied food patches, whose effects add up or compete depending on group size. Our results open new opportunities for exploring complex dynamics of nutrient selection in simple and genetically tractable groups.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 219, no 5, 668-675 p.
Aggregation, Drosophila melanogaster, Collective behavior, Foraging, Fruit flies, Individual-based model, Social attraction
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-282302DOI: 10.1242/jeb.127431ISI: 000371134700015OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-282302DiVA: diva2:916875
FunderKnut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation