Collective motion as a distinct behavioral state of the individual

Daniel Knebel, Ciona Sha-ked, Noa Agmon, Gil Ariel, Amir Ayali

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The collective motion of swarms depends on adaptations at the individual level. We explored these and their effects on swarm formation and maintenance in locusts. The walking kinematics of individual insects were monitored under laboratory settings, before, as well as during collective motion in a group, and again after separation from the group. It was found that taking part in collective motion induced in the individual unique behavioral kinematics, suggesting the existence of a distinct behavioral mode that we term a “collective-motion-state.” This state, characterized by behavioral adaptation to the social context, is long lasting, not induced by crowding per se, but only by experiencing collective motion. Utilizing computational models, we show that this adaptability increases the robustness of the swarm. Overall, our findings suggest that collective motion is not only an emergent property of the group but also depends on a behavioral mode, rooted in endogenous mechanisms of the individual. Zoology; Entomology; Ethology

Original languageEnglish
Article number102299
Issue number4
StatePublished - 23 Apr 2021


  • Entomology
  • Ethology
  • Zoology


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