Talk:Swarm behaviour

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I like the little .gif videos. Let's get more of those on Wikipedia.[edit]

-I like.... TOTALLY AGREE! Fishies! Weee Alexbuirds 22:43, 5 May 2006 (UTC)me too!!! someone could make them loop perfectly though.-- (talk) 16:03, 12 January 2008 (UTC)


The "swarming" of microorganisms is not general knowledge and requires verification. SmokeyJoe 00:57, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

Eels are a subset of fish[edit]

Isn't it then redundant to list them again in the list of species that swarm?

Substantial Enough?[edit]

The article doesnt seem altogether particularly comprehensive enough to me. It speaks mostly about the behavior of fish swarms but not really other species. The species list itself also seems like its a little short (I'm no biologist so I can't say for sure.)

Shoaling as an article in its own right[edit]

Unless there are objections, I propose splitting out the section called Fish into an article of its own called Shoaling. The main article will then have a truncated section on shoaling, referring to the separate article. Shoaling is an important topic in Fisheries, and needs its own article. The current article details only shoaling behaviour, and has a lot of scope for expansion. --Geronimo20 (talk) 03:31, 5 May 2008 (UTC)

Flocking behavior?[edit]

How is swaming behavior different from flocking behavior? If they are sufficiently similar, I would advocate combining the articles. If not, then I think a section is in order which can point out the similarities and differences. --1000Faces (talk) 07:37, 3 June 2008 (UTC)

"Swarming" is a general term that can be applied to any animal that swarms. "Flocking" refers to swarming behaviour in birds only, just as "shoaling" refers to swarming behaviour in fish only. --Geronimo20 (talk) 21:30, 24 June 2009 (UTC)


There is zero reason for having a quote section about this. Any viable information should be incorporated into the general description and not seperated into a quote section. What's next? Swarm trivia? (talk) 04:01, 29 December 2008 (UTC)

To Geronimo20[edit]

Your recent edits seem almost a little harsh in relation to the previous formulation. It is now all lumped together without the earlier distinctions. The delineations seemed appropriate as written. Are you trying to be more concise? Please remember that Wikipedia has no admonition against or aversion to prosaically styled articles. Yet, I suppose that if one feels an economy of words is best, I'll not challenge it further. Perhaps we can find a way to meet both standards. Dr. Dan (talk) 04:43, 8 July 2009 (UTC)

I was not so much concerned with economy (though I think economy is generally a good idea) but rather with clarity, unity and coherence. I suppose I come from the science side (the article is about biological swarms), with a focus more on what the common underlying dynamics of "swarming" might be. I see you are maybe coming more from a historian sensibility. I don't see my rewrite of the lead lost distinctions or delineations, but if you feel differently then change it. I likewise won't challenge it further. Either way, the article is raw, and still needs a lot more work. Perhaps you might like to add a section on "people swarms"? --Geronimo20 (talk) 05:37, 8 July 2009 (UTC)
Actually, I was coming a little more from a sociological or even, odd as it may sound, literary perspective, rather than a historical one. You're right, the article needs more work. As for "people swarms", recently, I'm perpetually engaged with them. Maybe I should work on that section. Dr. Dan (talk) 06:09, 8 July 2009 (UTC)

Collective animal behavior and brain behavior[edit]

please see this page

it is yet not very articulated article Retrieved from " — Preceding unsigned comment added by Scienficreal (talkcontribs) 21:55, 20 March 2011 (UTC) --Scienficreal (talk) 22:00, 20 March 2011 (UTC)

File:Pyranha Pygocentrus piraya group 1280 boosted.jpg Nominated for Deletion[edit]

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Living animals following a robotic leader[edit]

Perhaps the fact that some animals are prepared to follow a robotic leader can be mentioned. See Also, I think the same can be done with birds, ie by using artificial birds (ie Robert Musters' peregrine falcon, BlueFalcon design, ...) The only thing with this may be the control/range. Given that male/female birds of any size can be made of that exact species, and given that several birds for guiding a single flock can be produced, success rates should be higher than ie having the birds follow an aircraft (as done in William Lishman's projects)

For the control: rather than using remote control (R/C), it's best to make it autonomous (else the artificial bird can not fly very far before going out of range of the radio communication), so basically a "robot". A simple one should be relatively easy to do. A more advanced one (which also incorporates variables which birds take into account, ie windspeed/altitude, swarm movement, ... may be more difficult but I guess that this too is still achievable. Perhaps it can be made based on software as ArduPilot.

An other thing is the energy storage; I think it's probably best to use a miniature internal combustion engine rather than electric batteries (this also allows quick refilling when the birds stop to rest). See (talk) 08:29, 16 July 2012 (UTC)

Removal of animation[edit]

An animation was removed from this article by some editor who appears to be on a crusade against using animations. If animations are to be banned from Wikipedia, that would be a huge backward step, just one remove away from banning images altogether. If the editor believes their preference is the way to go, they should take the issue to the community and have the relevant guidelines changed. --Epipelagic (talk) 19:08, 24 August 2012 (UTC)

No crusade here. Per Talk:Herring, I removed one picture from five articles because it was rendering at 1.3Mb, which is significantly larger than the "very small file size" that WP:IUP recommends. --McGeddon (talk) 17:45, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
This is going too far. Only a thumb is used here. No reasonable rationale has been offered for the removal of this image. --Epipelagic (talk) 20:14, 17 September 2012 (UTC)
My mistake, I hadn't registered it was rendering at a smaller size and was only 210k. I'm surprised this is the only animation on the page, when we could be animating actual swarm behaviour - even the 17k File:Synchropredation.gif is politely given as a static thumbnail for the benefit of print readers. --McGeddon (talk) 22:28, 17 September 2012 (UTC)
It is not "politely given as a static thumbnail for the benefit of print readers", it just doesn't animate as a thumb. The gif needs reloading frame by frame to fix the problem. You seem to be operating some campaign to reduce Wikipedia to the lowest common denominator, so nothing can be offered to the general reader that doesn't also work for the slowest of connections, the smallest of screens, static print media, the visually disabled... To be consistent, you should now campaign for the removal of any material that cannot be understood by the mentally challenged. Any words longer than two syllables should be removed, as should anything requiring any reasoning power. People with limited attentions spans should be politely acknowledged by restricting articles to 50 words. The trouble with all your politeness is that it ends up being thoroughly disrespectful to the great majority of Wikipedia readers, who will end up with nothing worth the attempt to read at all. --Epipelagic (talk) 01:57, 18 September 2012 (UTC)
Strange, I assumed the static thumbnail was deliberate - Herring#Prey uses the same animation, slightly thumbnailed, and it still animates. Putting the herring shoal video clip into the same gallery, it animates fine, so this must be some kind of bug.
Can you please drop the ad absurdums and personal attacks? I'm just making sure that articles follow the image accessibility guidelines laid out in WP:IUP - if you feel that I'm interpreting this policy inconsistently or incorrectly, by all means explain how. If you just don't like the policy, that's fine, but it's not my fault. --McGeddon (talk) 09:58, 18 September 2012 (UTC)

link to my screensaver was removed[edit]

Please recognize that this screensaver is freeware -- I'm not making any money out of it. Some nazi removed the link. I think the link is fully appropriate here, as the page is taking about self propelled particles and this is exactly what the screensaver is showing -- a mesmerizing picture of chaos resulting out of nonlinear mathematics.ExcessPhase (talk) 18:50, 7 November 2012 (UTC)

This screensaver does not meet the inclusion requirements for WP:EL; it falls under "Any site that does not provide a unique resource beyond what the article would contain if it became a featured article." and "Sites that are only indirectly related to the article's subject: the link should be directly related to the subject of the article." Furthermore, calling the user who removed the link a Nazi is highly inappropriate and incivil. Your behavior here is becoming more and more questionable; I'd suggest you step back a bit and read our civility guidelines. GorillaWarfare (talk) 18:55, 7 November 2012 (UTC)

I did not see any resource on the page, which showed an animation of self propelled particles or a method for the user to play around with the parameters of such a system and recognize the changes resulting out of such a parameter change. The author of this page agreed with this when I inserted the link.ExcessPhase (talk) 19:07, 7 November 2012 (UTC)

The Wolfram-Alpha links at the bottom of the page allow for this. Furthermore, as I said in my response on my talk page, there is not a single author of this article. GorillaWarfare (talk) 19:11, 7 November 2012 (UTC)

So why is one link to software appropriate and the other one is not? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:09, 7 November 2012 (UTC)

Pointless comparison of formation flight with a peloton of cyclists[edit]

Under bird migration, I encountered the following text:

"Many, if not most, birds migrate in flocks. For larger birds, flying in flocks reduces energy costs. Flocks of birds save energy when flying together much in the way that bicyclists draft one another in a peloton."

There were two points to be made here. First is that reduction of the energy costs as a reason for formation flight is a claim, not a fact. The scientific debate about this is still going on. It is mostly a matter of popular belief that birds fly in formation to reduce their costs. Second is that the comparison with a peloton of cyclists doesn't make any sense at all. So I corrected the text to read:

"Many, if not most, birds migrate in flocks. For larger birds, it is assumed that flying in flocks reduces energy costs."

In the edit summary I explained: Nonsense: a peloton propels itself through friction with the ground, so breaking the air makes sense; the only head wind a bird has is its own forward velocity; it can't break that. My edit was reverted by Epipelagic on the ground of: "You haven't thought this through". I'm convinced the user or author who made the comparison with a peloton of cyclists hasn't thought this through. I'll give more ample explanation for both corrections:

There are several papers on energy savings for birds flying in formation, most notably Wieselsberger (1914) and Lissaman & Shollenberger (1970). Wieselsberger however used the unrealistic model of potential flow to calculate the benefits for every single bird in a v-formation. Potential flow is flow without viscosity. The model is too far away from reality to give reasonable results here. Lissaman & Shollenberger claim they did some calculations on formations of birds of up to 25 individuals. They did not however, reveal their method of calculation. What they state about energetic benefits is thus no more than a claim. Several authors have since questioned the claim, and given other explanations for formation flight. Among them Gould & Heppner (1974), Higdon & Corrsin (1978), Badgerow & Hainsworth (1981) and Heppner et al. (1985). Although new claims on energy savings have been published, this time based on experimental work on birds, e.g. Portugal et al. (2014) and Völkl et al. (2015), there is also the work of Usherwood et al. (2011), stating there are actual higher costs for birds flying in a flock. Remember the energetic benefits are hypothesized for highly ordered v-formations, and this Wikipedia-article is about swarming.

Now let's rethink the comparison of a flock of birds with a peloton of cyclists. A cyclist propels himself by friction with the ground. He then gets a certain speed with respect to the ground. The surrounding air also has a speed with respect to the ground. The sum of those two speeds is the wind a cyclist experiences. It can be a headwind, a tailwind, a sidewind or a combination. For the cyclist, anything with a headwind component is an inconvenience. It helps a lot if another cyclist rides in front of him, breaking or even blocking the headwind. A bird, on the other hand, is completely surrounded by the air. It makes no contact with the ground. If the air moves, the bird moves with it. If two birds fly in moving air, they both move with it at the speed of the air. In order to stay aloft, a bird needs to have some speed with respect to the air, so it propels itself forward. It needs this flow over its wings in order to produce lift. The only wind a bird experiences, is its own forward velocity with respect to the surrounding air. A bird always has headwind, unless it's a hovering bird, like a humming bird, in which case it creates a top down flow. Take away the flow, and the bird will plummet. You cannot, moreover, break or block the wind for a bird if you're in the same air yourself. The comparison with a cyclist is total nonsense. If the comparison with a peloton has to be reintroduced, it has to be done on the basis of a serious scientific paper, making this comparison. Otherwise it's Original Research, and should be removed right away. I predict there are no books or papers on the dynamics of flight in which the comparison is to be found. (talk) 12:24, 21 February 2016 (UTC)

McNeill Alexander and "Hitching a lift"[edit]

Robert McNeill Alexander's article "Hitching a lift hydrodynamically - in swimming, flying and cycling" (J. Biol. 2004) was cited as a reference for the energetic benefits of flying in a flock. McNeill Alexander is one of the godfathers of animal mechanics. He is certainly an authority on animal locomotion, like the mechanics of dinosaur locomotion. When it comes to fluid dynamics and theory of flight however, the guy hasn't got a clue. This is shown very clearly in the third paragraph of the introduction of the cited paper, where it reads: "...Bernoulli's principle. (This is the principle that explains how aircraft can remain airborne: the pressure in the faster-moving air above the wings is less than the pressure in the slower-moving air below them.)" Bernoulli's principle as the basis for lift generated by an airfoil is a common misconception. A very widespread and obstinate one too. You won't find this explanation for lift in any modern treatise on fluid dynamics and the principles of lift and flight, yet McNeill Alexander just perpetuates here what the general public sees as common knowledge but is in fact nonsense. One cannot, for example, explain how airplanes can fly upside down on the basis of Bernoulli's principle. If this were the correct explanation for lift, airplanes flying upside down would fall down at twice the acceleration of gravity, yet they can easily remain airborne, as is shown in nearly every airshow. The leading principle here is of course Newton's third law, which seems to have escaped McNeill Alexander's attention.

Another example of McNeill Alexander's ignorance to fluid dynamics is the treatment, in the cited article, of the diamond shaped order in fish schools. This concept, based on the idea of two adjacent Von Karman vortex streets, produced by two fishes swimming next to each other, giving the one trailing them much of a free ride, was hypothesized on theoretical basis but was actually never found in real fish schools. In a special session of the annual meeting of the Society for Experimental Biology is Salzburg in 2012, the majority of experts on this topic gathered. Not a single one had ever found this configuration in any real school of fishes, no matter how hard they tried to give proof of its existence. Fishes just don't save energy this way.

McNeill Alexander is right when he states, two paragraphs before the end of his paper, that cyclists riding at the back of the pack can save a lot of energy. Fortunately, he doesn't make the comparison with swarming birds or schooling fish, but only with running animals, which makes sense. That's one of the few things in the paper that make sense. The rest is just showing McNeill Alexander doesn't know much about locomotion of animals that are completely surrounded by the medium in which they move and by which they have to propel themselves. I therefore removed this useless reference. (talk) 12:58, 23 February 2016 (UTC)

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