The 'Common Stomach' as Information Source for the Regulation of Construction Behaviour of the Swarm

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The construction of nests in insect societies requires building materials, pulp and water foragers, builders and also an organized workforce for effective construction. The central hypothesis of this study is that wasp societies developed a social crop, or common stomach, which stores water and provides a mechanism for worker connectivity, which in turn regulates construction behaviour. Inspired by the construction behaviour of social wasps, an agent-based model is presented to show that via the usage of the common stomach, larger colonies enjoy the benefit of having highly effective foragers, while most of the swarm stays on the nest and only a few engage in highly risky foraging trips. We also demonstrate how colony efficiency changes as a function of colony size and the constitution of the labour distribution, as well as how indirect interactions can increase efficiency of labour in wasp societies.