Irregular walks and loops combines in small-scale movement of a soil insect: implications for dispersal biology

Göran Bengtsson, Elna Nilsson, Tobias Rydén, Magnus Wiktorsson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (SciVal)


Analysis of small-scale movement patterns of animals we may help to understand and predict movement at a larger scale, such as dispersal, which is a key parameter in spatial population dynamics. We have chosen to study the movement of a soil-dwelling Collembola, Protaphorura armata, in an experimental system consisting of a clay surface with or without physical obstacles. A combination of video recordings, descriptive statistics, and walking simulations was used to evaluate the movement pattern. Individuals were found to link periods of irregular walk with those of looping in a homogeneous environment as well as in one structured to heterogeneity by physical obstacles. The number of loops varied between 0 and 44 per hour from one individual to another and some individuals preferred to make loops by turning right and others by turning left. P. armata spent less time at the boundary of small obstacles compared to large, presumably because of a lower probability to track the steepness of the curvature as the individual walks along a highly curved surface. Food deprived P. armata had a more winding movement and made more circular loops than those that were well fed. The observed looping behaviour is interpreted in the context of systematic search strategies and compared with similar movement patterns found in other species.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)299-306
JournalJournal of Theoretical Biology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2004

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Probability Theory and Statistics
  • Ecology


Dive into the research topics of 'Irregular walks and loops combines in small-scale movement of a soil insect: implications for dispersal biology'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this