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Universality in ant behaviour

Christensen, Kim; Papavassiliou, Dario; De Figueiredo, Alexandre; Franks, Nigel R.; Sendova-Franks, Ana B.

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Kim Christensen

Dario Papavassiliou

Alexandre De Figueiredo

Nigel R. Franks

Ana B. Sendova-Franks


© 2014 The Authors. Prediction for social systems is a major challenge. Universality at the social level has inspired a unified theory for urban living but individual variation makes predicting relationships within societies difficult. Here, we show that in ant societies individual average speed is higher when event duration is longer. Expressed as a single scaling function, this relationship is universal because for any event duration an ant, on average, moves at the corresponding average speed except for a short acceleration and deceleration at the beginning and end. This establishes cause and effect within a social system and may inform engineering and control of artificial ones.


Christensen, K., Papavassiliou, D., De Figueiredo, A., Franks, N. R., & Sendova-Franks, A. B. (2015). Universality in ant behaviour. Interface, 12(102),

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jan 1, 2015
Deposit Date Nov 20, 2014
Publicly Available Date Feb 10, 2016
Journal Journal of the Royal Society Interface
Print ISSN 1742-5689
Electronic ISSN 1742-5662
Publisher Royal Society, The
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 12
Issue 102
Keywords ant behaviour, behaviour, universality, ants
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