What can a non-eusocial insect tell us about the neural basis of group behaviour?

Clara H. Ferreira, Marta A. Moita

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Group behaviour has been extensively studied in canonically social swarming, shoaling and flocking vertebrates and invertebrates, providing great insight into the behavioural and ecological aspects of group living. However, the search for its neuronal basis is lagging behind. In the natural environment, Drosophila melanogaster, increasingly used as a model to study neuronal circuits and behaviour, spend their lives surrounded by several conspecifics of different stages, as well as heterospecifics. Despite their dynamic multi-organism natural environment, the neuronal basis of social behaviours has been typically studied in dyadic interactions, such as mating or aggression. This review will focus on recent studies regarding how the behaviour of fruit flies can be shaped by the nature of the surrounding group. We argue that the rich social environment of Drosophila melanogaster, its arsenal of neurogenetic tools and the ability to use large sample sizes for detailed quantitative behavioural analysis makes this species ideal for mechanistic studies of group behaviour.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)118-124
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Opinion in Insect Science
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019
Externally publishedYes

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