Login | Register

Group leadership depends on energetic state in a nomadic collective foraging caterpillar


Group leadership depends on energetic state in a nomadic collective foraging caterpillar

McClure, Melanie, Ralph, Melissa and Despland, Emma (2011) Group leadership depends on energetic state in a nomadic collective foraging caterpillar. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 65 (8). pp. 1573-1579. ISSN 0340-5443

[thumbnail of Despland_BES_2011.pdf]
Text (application/pdf)
Despland_BES_2011.pdf - Accepted Version

Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00265-011-1167-5


Group living is a common strategy among animals and has arisen independently in over 300 species of Lepidoptera. Yet, activity synchrony between individuals is necessary to derive the benefits that ensue from an aggregated lifestyle. Which individuals decide which activities to perform and when to perform them is, therefore, a fundamental question. In some species of social caterpillars and sawflies, the role of a potential behavioral polyethism between individuals has been suggested, whereby certain individuals are consistently more likely to initiate and lead a foraging event. However, in these cases, evidence in support of division of labor is lacking. This study was undertaken to determine if certain individuals of Malacosoma disstria are more likely to be consistent group leaders or if transient leaders could be predicted by the differences in energetic states between individuals. The results of this study indicate that unfed caterpillars initiate foraging bouts and are more likely to lead locomotion. There was no size or sex-based bias in those individuals that acted as temporary leaders. Consistent behavioral differences between individuals, if they exist, are therefore not necessary to explain task allocation and synchronization during foraging in this species.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Biology
Item Type:Article
Authors:McClure, Melanie and Ralph, Melissa and Despland, Emma
Journal or Publication:Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
Date:10 March 2011
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):10.1007/s00265-011-1167-5
Keywords:Group behavior – Foraging – Forest tent caterpillar – Sociality – Malacosoma disstria – Synchrony
ID Code:15111
Deposited By: Danielle Dennie
Deposited On:23 Aug 2011 19:11
Last Modified:02 May 2019 20:18


Addy ND (1969) Rearing the forest tent caterpillar on an artificial diet. J Econ Entomol 62:270-271

Barton Browne L (1993) Physiologically induced changes in resource-oriented behavior. Annu Rev Entomol 38:1-25

Beauchamp G (2000) Individual differences in activity and exploration influence leadership in pairs of foraging zebra finches. Behaviour 137:301-314

Bumann D, Krause J and Rubenstein DI (1997) Mortality risk of spatial positions in animal groups: the danger of being in the front. Behavior 134:1063-1076

Colasurdo N and Despland E (2005) Social cues and following behavior in the forest tent caterpillar. J Insect Behav 18:77-87

Conradt L and List C (2009) Group decisions in humans and animals: a survey. Philos Trans R Soc Lond, Ser B: Biol Sci 364:719-742

Conradt L and Roper TJ (2005) Consensus decision making in animals. Trends Ecol Evol 20:449-456

Cornell JC, Stamp NE and Bowers MD (1988) Variation and developmental change in activity of gregarious caterpillars, Hemileuca lucina (Saturniidae). Psyche 95:45-58

Couzin ID, Krause J, Franks NR and Levin SA (2005) Effective leadership and decision-making in animal groups on the move. Nature 433:513-516

Despland E and Hamzeh S (2004) Ontogenetic changes in social behaviour in the forest tent caterpillar, Malacosoma disstria. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 56:177-184

Despland E and Le Huu A (2007) Pros and cons of group-living in the forest tent caterpillar: separating the roles of silk and of grouping. Entomol Exp Appl

Despland E and Simpson SJ (2006) Resource distribution mediates synchronization of physiological rhythms in locust groups. Philos Trans R Soc Lond, Ser B: Biol Sci 273:1517-1522

Dostalkova I and Spinka M (2007) Synchronization of behaviour in pairs: the role of communication and consequences in timing. Anim Behav 74:1735-1742

Dussutour A, Simpson SJ, Despland E and Colasurdo N (2007) When the group denies individual nutritional wisdom. Animal Behavior 74:931-939

Dyer JRG, Johansson A, Helbing D, Couzin IA and Krause J (2009) Leadership, consensus decision making and collective behaviour in humans. Philos Trans R Soc Lond, Ser B: Biol Sci 364:781-789

Edgerly JS and Fitzgerald TD (1982) An investigation of behavioral variability within colonies of eastern tent caterpillar Malacosoma americanum (Lepidoptera:Lasiocampidae). J Kans Entomol Soc 55:145-155

Fischhoff IR, Sundaresan S, Cordingley J, Larkin HM, Sellier MJ and Rubenstein D (2007) Social relationships and reproductive state influence leadership roles in movements of plains zebra, Equus burchellii. Anim Behav 73:825-831

Fitzgerald TD (1995) The Tent Caterpillars. Ithaca: Cornell University Press

Fitzgerald TD (2003) Role of trail pheromone in foraging and processionary behavior of pine processionary caterpillars Thaumetopoea pityocampa. J Chem Ecol 29:513-532

Fitzgerald TD and Costa JT (1986) Trail-based communication and foraging behavior of young colonies of forest tent caterpillars (Lepidoptera: Lasiocampidae). Ann Entomol Soc Am 79:999-1007

Fitzgerald TD and Costa JT (1999) Collective behavior in social caterpillars. In: Detrain C, Deneubourg JL, Pasteels JM (eds) Information processing in social insects. Birkhauser, Basel

Gautrais J, Michelena P, Sibbald A, Bon R and Deneubourg JL (2007) Allelomimetic synchronization in Merino sheep. Anim Behav 74:1443-1454

Greenblatt JA and Witter JA (1976) Behavioral studies on Malacosoma disstria (Lepidoptera:Lasiocampidae). Can Entomol 108:1225-1228

Grisdale D (1985) Malacosoma disstria. In: Singh P, Moore RF (eds) Handbook of insect rearing. Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp 369-379

Halloy J, Sempo G, Caprari G, Rivault C, Asadpour M, Tâche F, Saïd I, Durier V, Canonge S, Amé JM, Detrain C, Correll N, Martinoli A, Mondada F, Siegwart R and Deneubourg JL (2007) Social integration of robots into groups of cockroaches to control self-organized choices. Science 318:1155-1158

Harcourt JL, Ang TZ, Sweetman G, Johnstone RA and Manica A (2009) Social feedback and the ermergence of leaders and followers. Curr Biol 19:248-252

Holekamp KE, Boydston EE and Smale L (2000) Group travel in social carnivores. In: Boinski S, Garber PA (eds) On the move. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, pp 587-627

Huse G, Railsback S and Fernö A (2002) Modelling changes in migration pattern of herring: collective behaviour and numerical domination. Journal of Fish Biology 60:571-582

King AJ and Cowlishaw G (2009) All together now: behavioural synchrony in baboons. Anim Behav 78:1381-1387

Krause J (1993) The relationship between foraging and shoal position in a mixed shoal of roach (Rutilus rutilus) and chub (Leuciscus cephalus): a field study. Oecologia 93:356-359

Krause J, Bumann D and Todt D (1992) Relationship between the position preference and nutritional state of individuals in schools of juvenile roach (Rutilus rutilus). Behav Ecol Sociobiol 30:177-180

Krause J, Reeves P and Hoare D (1998) Positioning behaviour in roach shoals: the role of body length and nutritional state. Behaviour 135:1031-1039

Laux W (1962) Individuelle unterschiede in verhalten und leistung des ringelspinners, Malacosoma neustria (L.). Z. angew Zool. 49:465-524

Leblond C and Reebs SG (2006) Individual leadership and boldness in shoals of golden shiners (Notemigonus crysoleucas). Behaviour 143:1263-1280

Long DB (1955) Observations on subsocial behaviour in two species of lepidopterous larvae, Pieris brassicae L. & Plusia gamma L. Trans R Ent Soc Lond 106:421-437

McClure M and Despland E (2010) Collective foraging patterns of field colonies of Malacosoma disstria caterpillars. Can Entomol 142:1-8

Nemiroff L and Despland E (2007) Consistent individual differences in the foraging behaviour of forest tent caterpillars (Malacosoma disstria). Can J Zool 85:1117-1124

Peters MI and Despland E (2006) Plasticity in forest tent caterpillar self-organized collective foraging. Ethology 112:521-528

Petit O and Bon R (2010) Decision-making processes: The case of collective movements. Behav Processes 84:635-647

Ramseyer A, Thierry B, Boissy A and Dumont B (2009) Decision-making processes in group departures of cattle. Ethology 115:948-957

Rands SA, Cowlishaw G, Pettifor RA, Rowcliffe JM and Johnstone RA (2003) Spontaneous emergence of leaders and followers in foraging pairs. Nature 423:432-434

Reebs SG (2001) Influence of body size on leadership in shoals of golden shiners, Notemigonus crysoleucas. Behaviour 138:797-809

Ruf C (2002) Social life-styles in caterpilars: behavioral mechanisms and ecological consequences. Dissertation, Universität Bayreuth

Sokal RR and Rohlf FJ (1981) Biometry: The principles and practices of statistics in biological research, Second edn. W.H. Freeman and Company, New York
Stewart KJ and Harcourt AH (1994) Gorillas' vocalizations during rest periods: signals of impending departure? Behaviour 130:1-2

Sumpter DJT and Pratt SC (2009) Quorum responses and consensus decision making. Philos Trans R Soc Lond, Ser B: Biol Sci 364:743-753

Underwood DLA and Shapiro AM (1999) Evidence for division of labor in the social caterpillar Eucheira socialis (Lepidoptera: Pieridae). Behav Ecol Sociobiol 46:228-236

Weinstein P and Maelzer DA (1997) Leadership behaviour in sawfly larvae Perga dorsalis (Hymenoptera: Pergidae). Oikos 79:450-455

Wellington WG (1957) Individual differences as a factor in population dynamics: the development of a problem. Can J Zool 35:293-323

Werner EE and Anholt BR (1993) Ecological consequences of the tradeoff between growth and mortality rates mediated by foraging activity. Am Nat 142:242-272
All items in Spectrum are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved. The use of items is governed by Spectrum's terms of access.

Repository Staff Only: item control page

Downloads per month over past year

Research related to the current document (at the CORE website)
- Research related to the current document (at the CORE website)
Back to top Back to top