UBC Theses and Dissertations
Modelling the swarming behaviour of army ants Watmough, James
A model of the collective motion of a group of social insects interacting through a trail network is developed around a set of simple rules. The model assumes that individuals interact with the existing trail network both by following the trails, and by adding to and reenforcing trails. The main hypothesis of the model is that the mechanics of the motion of the individuals are sufficient to determine the collective motion of the group, or equivalently, that the parameters governing the behaviour of the individuals are sufficient to determine the patterns of the trail networks produced. Both a simulation and a mathematical model are derived from this same set of rules. The mathematical model is derived for a single spatial dimension to study the propagation of the raiding column. The results are compared both to the swarming behaviour of army ants observed in the field, and to the results of simulations of other authors which were based on different assumptions. We conclude that it is possible that many aspects of the swarming pattern are controlled by the parameters governing the behaviour of the individual.
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