A mathematical model for the population dynamics of army ants

N. F. Britton, L. W. Partridge, N. R. Franks

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11 Citations (SciVal)


A stochastic cellular automata model for the population dynamics of the army ant Eciton burchelli on Barro Colorado Island in Panama is set up. It is simulated on the computer and shown to give good agreement with biological data. It is analysed using two approximations akin to the mean field approximation in statistical mechanics, and good agreement with the simulations is obtained. Finally, the role of distance between successive statary phase bivouacs is discussed with regard to the rate of colony growth. There are two aspects of the biological system studied here that make it of general importance. First, the population is structured, since the size of each colony of army ants is crucial. Second, the spatial behaviour of the population, as in many others, is not diffusionlike, although it is random. This has implications for the kind of model that is chosen.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)471-492
Number of pages22
JournalBulletin of Mathematical Biology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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