What happens when two swarms find each other?

For example: When a swarm of bats, of the same species, go through another bat swarm. Do the bats attack one another or they simply merge into a bigger swarm?

  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to BiologySE - thanks for your question... you are actually asking several questions that may all be difficult to answer in one posting. You may want to try and narrow the focus at bit. $\endgroup$ – Vance L Albaugh Aug 9 '16 at 1:43
  • $\begingroup$ Look for the keywords agonistic behavior, ethology, swarm, group, flock, herd... sciencebasedlife.wordpress.com/2011/09/26/… Not sure how accurate it is, but seems interesting. $\endgroup$ – Rodrigo Aug 9 '16 at 4:25
  • $\begingroup$ @VanceLAlbaugh I don't think the OP is asking several questions. It's one interesting question with different answers depending on the taxon. That's the kind of question that makes biology so interesting. $\endgroup$ – Rodrigo Aug 9 '16 at 4:26
  • $\begingroup$ I'm sorry if I was unclear. My question was about swarms in general and how they interact with their same species swarms. And if one single animal of its kind joins the swarm if he is accepted or not. $\endgroup$ – Zarkos Aug 9 '16 at 4:58

It will depend on the species and group you're talking about. If the species is territorial, one swarm will tend to chase the other away. If it's a locust, they'll merge until they get to trillions of tons...

A study on wasps (Vespidae) I've read years ago showed an interesting experience. One individual wasp was tied by the waist and put close to different nests. The violence demonstrated by the nest was greater in a different species, median in the same species with a greater genetic distance, and none to her own or related nests.

Some "solitary" bees are very interesting in this respect, because they show many different kinds of sociality in related or even the same species, like many Halictidae and Euglossina (Apidae).


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