Innovations in Biotechnology and Medical Sciences

Serotonin Hormone causes Locust to form Swarms


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Serotonin

Mains level : Locusts invasion and its threats

Scientists have attempted to answer an important scientific question of how and why locusts collect together by the thousands in order to make a swarm.

Quite often, Oxytocin hormone is seen in the news for its commercial uses and associated ethical concerns. Kindly go through Oxytocin and issues over its commercial use

What causes Locusts to form huge swarms?

  • When lone locusts happen to come near each other (looking for food) and happen to touch each other, this tactile stimulation, even just in a little area of the back limbs, causes their behaviour to change.
  • This mechanical stimulation affects a couple of nerves in the animal’s body, their behaviour changes, leading to their coming together.
  • The central nervous system of the locust, the most important among them being serotonin which regulates mood and social behaviour is the mystery behind swarms.
  • Their coming together triggers a mechanical (touch) and neurochemical (serotonin) stimulations to make crowding occur.

What is Serotonin?

  • It is a monoamine neurotransmitter.
  • It has a popular image as a contributor to feelings of well-being and happiness.
  • Its actual biological function is complex and multifaceted, modulating cognition, reward, learning, memory, and numerous physiological processes such as vomiting and vasoconstriction.

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