Publications, Events & Stories in the News

Anstey, M.L., Rogers, S.M., Ott, S.R., Burrows, M. & Simpson, S.J. (2009) Serotonin mediates behavioral gregarization underlying swarm formation in desert locusts. Science, 323, 627 – 630.


Warbrick-Smith, J., Behmer, S.T., Lee, K-P.,Raubenheimer, D. & Simpson, S.J. (2006) Evolving resistance to obesity in an insect. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 103, 14045-14049.


Buhl, J., Sumpter, D.J.T., Couzin, I.C., Hale, J., Despland, E., Miller, E. & Simpson, S.J. (2006) From disorder to order in marching locusts. Science, 312, 1402-1406.

A groundbreaking paper in which statistical physics models are used in conjunction with laboratory experiments to show how collective marching emerges at critical population densities in locusts, as a result of simple, local interaction rules between insects. Featured in an accompanying Perspective (Science, 2006, 312, 1320-1322).

Simpson, S.J., Sword, G.A., Lorch, P.D. & Couzin, I.D. (2006) Cannibal crickets on a forced march for protein and salt. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 103, 4152-4156.

The most effective piece of field nutritional ecology ever done, providing a new explanation for mass migration in animals. Demonstrates that huge marching bands of crickets in NW USA are on a forced march driven by specific appetites for protein and salt and the associated risk of cannibalism from other crickets. Was featured in a News & Views in Nature (2006, 440, 38) and Research Highlights in Nature (2006, 441, 8).

The desert locust is an amazing animal. It is notorious as a swarming pest with a voracious appetite, but in fact spends most of its life as a shy solitary individual that carefully balances its food intake to match its body's needs.

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Recent links to stories about our work that is in the news:

Bingeing Bugs Avoid the Bulge

Obesity Crisis in Insects? Not a Problem, Says Expert

Human Obesity and lessons from the very hungry caterpillar

What insects can teach us about our diet

Behavioural study could put an end to the eighth plague

Locust swarms play it by numbers

How locusts decide its time to swarm

Desert Swarm (see page 18)

A Plague of Cannibals

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