José Halloy and colleagues at the Department of Social Ecology at the Free University of Brussels in Belgium discovered that the cockroach Blattella germanica makes decision in a simple democracy.
Cockroaches govern themselves in a very simple democracy where each insect has equal standing and group consultations precede decisions that affect the entire group, indicates a new study.
Halloy tested cockroach group behavior by placing the insects in a dish that contained three shelters. The test was to see how the cockroaches would divide themselves into the shelters.
After much "consultation," through antenna probing, touching and more, the cockroaches divided themselves up perfectly within the shelters. For example, if 50 insects were placed in a dish with three shelters, each with a capacity for 40 bugs, 25 roaches huddled together in the first shelter, 25 gathered in the second shelter, and the third was left vacant.
When the researchers altered this setup so that it had three shelters with a capacity for more than 50 insects, all of the cockroaches moved into the first "house."
Halloy and his colleagues found that a balance existed between cooperation and competition for resources.