Escape and surveillance responses to predators are lateralized in several vertebrate species. However, little is known on the laterality of escapes and predator surveillance in arthropods. In this study, we investigated the lateralization of escape and surveillance responses in young instars and adults of Locusta migratoria during biomimetic interactions with a robot-predator inspired to the Guinea fowl, Numida meleagris. Results showed individual-level lateralization in the jumping escape of locusts exposed to the robot-predator attack. The laterality of this response was higher in L. migratoria adults over young instars. Furthermore, population-level lateralization of predator surveillance was found testing both L. migratoria adults and young instars; locusts used the right compound eye to oversee the robot-predator. Right-biased individuals were more stationary over left-biased ones during surveillance of the robot-predator. Individual-level lateralization could avoid predictability during the jumping escape. Population-level lateralization may improve coordination in the swarm during specific group tasks such as predator surveillance. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of lateralized predator-prey interactions in insects. Our findings outline the possibility of using biomimetic robots to study predator-prey interaction, avoiding the use of real predators, thus achieving standardized experimental conditions to investigate complex and flexible behaviours.

Escape and surveillance asymmetries in locusts exposed to a Guinea fowl-mimicking robot predator

Benelli, Giovanni;
2017-01-01

Abstract

Escape and surveillance responses to predators are lateralized in several vertebrate species. However, little is known on the laterality of escapes and predator surveillance in arthropods. In this study, we investigated the lateralization of escape and surveillance responses in young instars and adults of Locusta migratoria during biomimetic interactions with a robot-predator inspired to the Guinea fowl, Numida meleagris. Results showed individual-level lateralization in the jumping escape of locusts exposed to the robot-predator attack. The laterality of this response was higher in L. migratoria adults over young instars. Furthermore, population-level lateralization of predator surveillance was found testing both L. migratoria adults and young instars; locusts used the right compound eye to oversee the robot-predator. Right-biased individuals were more stationary over left-biased ones during surveillance of the robot-predator. Individual-level lateralization could avoid predictability during the jumping escape. Population-level lateralization may improve coordination in the swarm during specific group tasks such as predator surveillance. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of lateralized predator-prey interactions in insects. Our findings outline the possibility of using biomimetic robots to study predator-prey interaction, avoiding the use of real predators, thus achieving standardized experimental conditions to investigate complex and flexible behaviours.
2017
Romano, Donato; Benelli, Giovanni; Stefanini, Cesare
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11568/949572
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