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Insects have more efficient social networks!

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Insects like honeybees and ants live in groups that constantly communicate with each other and scientists are seeking a better understanding of their networks to improve the existing information processing.

In fact, communication networks in some insect groups have been successfully compared to artificial technological information transfer networks.

Drawing parallels between such highly-coordinated processes in living organisms and their artificial counterparts, a team of scientists from IISc, IISER-and BITS-Pilani, seeks a better understanding of network communication to improve the existing information processing system, says a Gubbi Labs release.

Survival of living organisms depends on the well- coordinated processes at different levels - the cellular and genetic levels, for example.

Group living animals take coordination to a different level -- schools of fish and flocks of birds rely on competent communication by every individual to all other members, at every point in time. Efficient transfer of information happens through communication systems, which hold good even when there are time or energy constraints.

Among non-human living beings, social insects like bees have some of the most complex societies.

Scientists study them to understand communication between the members of a colony, which ensures division of labour between thousands of individuals.

Different species of social insects have different modes of communication: bees in large colonies communicate using chemical cues or pheromones, while wasps in smaller colonies use direct physical interactions.

Anjan Nandi and colleagues at Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore studied a tropical wasp Ropalidia marginata to understand the flow of information within a colony.

First Published: Wed, October 22 2014. 12:26 IST