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The Perfect Swarm: The Science of Complexity in Everyday Life by Len Fisher

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TWO
The Locusts and the Bees

Locusts and Us

Locusts are distinguished from other types of grasshoppers because their behavior changes radically when conditions become crowded. Normally shy and solitary, the close proximity of other locusts turns them into party animals. In the case of the African desert locust, this is because the proximity stimulates them to produce the neuromodulator chemical serotonin, which not only makes them gregarious but also stimulates other nearby locusts to generate serotonin as well. The ensuing chain reaction soon has all the locusts in the vicinity seeking each other’s company.
The locusts also become darker, stronger, and much more mobile. They start moving en masse, first on the ground and then in the air, ...

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