Oct 8, 2015

Social context modulates idiosyncrasy of behaviour in the gregarious cockroach Blaberus discoidalis

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
James CrallBenjamin de Bivort


Individuals are different, but they can work together to perform adaptive collective behaviours. Despite emerging evidence that individual variation strongly affects group performance, it is less clear to what extent individual variation is modulated by participation in collective behaviour. We examined light avoidance (negative phototaxis) in the gregarious cockroach Blaberus discoidalis, in both solitary and group contexts. Cockroaches in groups exhibit idiosyncratic light-avoidance performance that persists across days, with some individual cockroaches avoiding a light stimulus 75% of the time, and others avoiding the light just above chance (i.e. ~50% of the time). These individual differences are robust to group composition. Surprisingly, these differences do not persist when individuals are tested in isolation, but return when testing is once again done with groups. During the solo testing phase cockroaches exhibited individually consistent light-avoidance tendencies, but these differences were uncorrelated with performance in any group context. Therefore, we have observed not only that individual variation affects group-level performance, but also that whether or not a task is performed collectively can have a significan...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Allergy Testing Cockroach
Alcohol Idiosyncratic Intoxication
Negative Phototaxis
Drug Allergy
Blaberus discoidalis

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