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Swarming locusts need larger brains

ScienceDaily (May 26, 2010)

Swarming locusts need larger brains

ScienceDaily (May 26, 2010)

One of the most devastating events in the insect world — the locust swarm — has extraordinary effects on the insect’s brains, scientists have discovered. One of the most devastating events in the insect world — the locust swarm — has extraordinary effects on the insect’s brains, scientists in Cambridge have discovered.Credit : iStockphoto/Ruvan Boshoff

Although desert locusts are infamous for their swarming behaviour — when they migrate en masse and consume everything in their path — they usually occur in a solitary form, living alone and actively avoiding fellow locusts.

Despite being smaller than solitary locusts, swarming locusts developed brains that were 30% larger. Not only that, regions of the brain that are dedicated to different tasks had very different proportions in the two phases.

In the solitary locust the parts of the brain that deal with vision and smell are proportionately larger, possibly helping them to detect faint or distant stimuli, whereas in the swarming locust huge increases in size occur in the parts of the brain associated with learning and processing complex information.

Story Source

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Cambridge.

Pour en savoir plus (ScienceDaily)

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