When social behaviour is moulded in clay: on growth and form of social insect nests

Andrea Perna, Guy Theraulaz

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The nests built by social insects are among the most complex structures produced by animal groups. They reveal the social behaviour of a colony and as such they potentially allow comparative studies. However, for a long time, research on nest architecture was hindered by the lack of technical tools allowing the visualisation of their complex 3D structures and the quantification of their properties. Several techniques, developed over the years, now make it possible to study the organisation of these nests and how they are built. Here, we review present knowledge of the mechanisms of nest construction, and how nest structure affects the behaviour of individual insects and the organisation of activities within a colony.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-91
JournalThe Journal of Experimental Biology
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jan 2017

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