Study Says Cockroaches Exchange Food Tips
- According to new research published in the journal Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, roaches behave like mini-restaurant critics, sharing recommendations about the best places to eat and pursuing gourmet tips offered by their bug buddies.
The study's lead scientist, Dr. Mathieu Lihoreau of Queen Mary, University of London, told AOL News that while it was previously assumed that cockroaches foraged and ate alone, he had long suspected that this wasn't true. "If you walk into an infested apartment, you'll see them in a group," he said. Lihoreau believed that this apparently social behavior could be a sign that the bugs were communicating with one another.
To test this hunch, Lihoreau and his team developed a simple experiment. Gangs of cockroaches were released in a 1-meter-square enclosure where they could choose between two identical slices of bread. "If they were behaving individually, then they would split into two similar sized groups and head to both food sources," he explains. "But if they were communicating and cooperating, then they would aggregate on one slice of bread."
The experiment was carried out with groups ranging from 50 to 200 cockroaches. While the lower-density swarms didn't show a preference, larger groups repeatedly gathered around one of the two slices, with some 65 percent of roaches deciding to chow down on a single piece of bread. "What it means is that we have a collective decision by the cockroaches to select one food source," Lihoreau says. Read more here ...