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Research shows that flies often gather into groups

It has been discovered that fruit flies can group together into clusters due to the need to congregate. This has been considered vital for the survival of the flies by scientists as it can aid in the search for food and enable them to carry out other tasks they couldn’t do alone. It is difficult to understand the behaviour of gathering in social clusters when observing large animals but it is considered much easier to study the smaller animals and insects in laboratories. A student in one of the universities undertaking this research, Lifen Jiang explains: “Analysing the aggregation process in fruit flies would help us understand how individuals interact to form a social group and what senses are used during this process”. “Looking at this process in fruit flies may give us some insight into more complex collective behaviours in other animals”. “Depriving fruit flies of their senses resulted in abnormal responses to encountering another fly and a high failure rate of cluster formation”, he continues. This suggested that disturbing their senses also interfered with the way they formed their groups. “Our findings suggest that self-organisation in flies might rely on just a few simple rules”, explains a Professor from the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Biophysics.