Nest architecture and traffic flow: Large potential effects from small structural features

Martin Christopher Burd, Nirajan Shiwakoti, Majid Sarvi, Geoffrey Rose

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


1. Research on human pedestrian dynamics predicts that seemingly small architectural features of the surroundings can have large effects on the behaviour of crowds and the flow of pedestrian traffic, particularly when a crowd is panicked. This theoretical framework might usefully be applied to the study of collective movement within subterranean nests of social insects. 2. We examined the rate of egress from artificial nests by alarmed Linepithema humile ants. In accord with model predictions, but counter to intuition, we found that a partially obstructed exit enhanced the average rate of escape from the nest. 3. The study of traffic flows in subterranean nests is almost non-existent, but it would be worth studying the effect of nest design elements on collective movements, given the great variety of nest forms among ants and termites.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)464 - 468
Number of pages5
JournalEcological Entomology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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