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Supplementary material from "Pausing to swarm: locust intermittent motion is instrumental for swarming-related visual processing"

Posted on 2024-02-09 - 20:52
Intermittent motion is prevalent in animal locomotion. Of special interest is the case of collective motion, in which social and environmental information must be processed in order to establish coordinated movement. We explored this nexus in locust, focusing on how intermittent motion interacts with swarming-related visual-based decision-making. Using a novel approach, we compared individual locust behaviour in response to continuously moving stimuli, with their response in semi-closed-loop conditions, in which the stimuli moved either in phase with the locust walking, or out of phase, i.e. only during the locust's pauses. Our findings clearly indicate the greater tendency of a locust to respond and ‘join the swarming motion’ when the visual stimuli were presented during its pauses. Hence, the current study strongly confirms previous indications of the dominant role of pauses in the collective motion-related decision-making of locusts. The presented insights contribute to a deeper general understanding of how intermittent motion contributes to group cohesion and coordination in animal swarms.

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