Navigation Links
Introducing the good food guide for cockroaches
Date:6/4/2010

It is often striking how little we know about our closest neighbour. Until now, it was assumed that cockroaches forage on their own to find food and water. However, this work shows how groups of the insects seem to make a collective choice about the best food source, explaining why we so commonly find them feeding en masse in the kitchen late at night.

Dr Mathieu Lihoreau from Queen Mary's School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, explained the potential impact of his research, saying: "Cockroaches cost the UK economy millions of pounds in wasted food and perishable products. Better understanding of how they seek out our food would allow us to develop better pest control measures, which are frequently ineffective and involve the use of insecticides that can have health side-effects."

This study, published in the Springer journal Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology, is the first demonstration that groups of cockroaches can forage for food collectively, rather than independently, relying on their individual experience.

In the experiment, hungry cockroaches (Blattella germanica) were released into an arena where they could choose between one of two piles of food. Lihoreau noted that, rather than choosing one randomly and splitting into two groups as would be expected if they were acting independently, the majority of the cockroaches fed solely on one piece of food until it was all gone. By following individual insects, it also emerged that the more of cockroaches there were on one piece of food, the longer each one would stay to feed. Through simple snowball effect then, most of the cockroaches accumulate on one source.

Once identified, a man-made 'foraging pheromone' could be used to improve pest control, making insecticide gels more effective or be used to create an insecticide-free trap. Lihoreau explains; "These observations coupled with simulations of a mathematical model indicate that cockroaches communicate through close contact when they are already on the food source. This is in contrast with the honeybees' waggle dance or ants' chemical trails, which are sophisticated messages that guide followers over a long distance. Although we think they signal to other cockroaches using a 'foraging pheromone', we haven't yet identified it; potential candidates include chemicals in cockroach saliva, and cuticular hydrocarbons, which cover the insects' bodies."

This work doesn't only provide the first evidence that these insects search for food collectively, but it also gives a simple explanation for it that could potentially apply to a wide array of animals, including humans. "We should definitively pay more attention to cockroaches and other simple 'societies' as they provide researchers with a good models for co-operation and emergent properties of social life, that we could extrapolate to more sophisticated societies, like ours," says Lihoreau.


'/>"/>

Contact: Simon Levey
s.levey@qmul.ac.uk
44-020-782-25404
Queen Mary, University of London
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Researchers introducing sustainable agriculture practices to improve food security
2. Introducing Orange Bulldog
3. Challenges remain in reintroducing American chestnut
4. Health Robotics i.v.STATION Certified as the Only Robot to Comply with Security Guidelines for Controlled Substances
5. New guidelines for diagnosing, managing and treating Clostridium difficile
6. USC researchers identify key mechanism that guides cells to form heart tissue
7. NIH stem cell guidelines should be modified, UCSF team reports
8. New marine plant identification guide for Panamas Eastern Pacific
9. Genes found linked to breast cancer drug resistance could guide future treatment choices
10. Discovery of a new molecular mechanism that guides visual nerves towards the brain
11. Pediatrics GI recommendations -- first step to guidelines for children with autism
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/21/2017)... -- Der weltweite Biobanking-Sektor wird bis zum ... mit mehr als 50 Vertretern aus verschiedenen Branchen wurde aber ... diese Prognose zu realisieren. ... Zu den Schwierigkeiten für ... für die Biobank, die Implementierung Zeit sparender Technologien, ein ...
(Date:2/13/2017)... Former 9/11 Commission border counsel and Special Counsel to ... of Identity Strategy Partners, LLP, today releases the following ... Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the ... Trump,s ,Travel Ban, Executive Order gains more notoriety and ... ban, it is important that our national discourse regain ...
(Date:2/8/2017)... Inc. (NASDAQ: AWRE ), a leading supplier of ... quarter and year ended December 31, 2016. ... compared to $6.9 million in the same quarter last year. ... million compared to $2.6 million in the fourth quarter of ... $0.5 million, or $0.02 per diluted share, which compares to ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/24/2017)... , Feb. 24, 2017 Symic Bio, ... developing a new category of therapeutics, announced today the ... SB-030 in peripheral artery disease. The trial will evaluate ... single-use therapeutic, in the reduction of restenosis following angioplasty. ... critical development milestone for SB-030," said Nathan Bachtell ...
(Date:2/24/2017)... -- China Biologic Products, Inc. (NASDAQ: CBPO) ("China Biologic" or ... China, today announced its financial results for the fourth quarter ... 2016 Financial Highlights Total sales in ... terms, or increased by 13.6% in USD terms to $77.6 ... Gross profit increased by 13.3% to $46.8 ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... -- Financial Highlights ... unaudited)Three Months Ended December 31,Twelve Months Ended December 31,20162015% ... $           300$   ... Product Revenue 3539(10)%9498(4)%Kuvan Net Product ... 756025%297303(2)%Vimizim Net Product Revenue ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... , Feb. 23, 2017  In Atlanta, it seems everyone ... and culture intertwine to create an expressive and dynamic community ... this energy and contribute to it. With ... Hair Fairies seeks to carry on that tradition with ... Atlanta salon is the newest of 13 ...
Breaking Biology Technology: