Whirligig Beetles as Corralled Active Brownian Particles

We study the collective dynamics of groups of whirligig beetles Dineutus discolor (Coleoptera: Gyrinidae) swimming freely on the surface of water. We extract individual trajectories for each beetle, including positions and orientations, and use this to discover (i) a density dependent speed scaling like $v\sim\rho^{-\nu}$ with $\nu\approx0$ over two orders of magnitude in density (ii) an inertial delay for velocity alignment of $\sim 13$ ms and (iii) coexisting high and low density phases, consistent with motility induced phase separation (MIPS)... (read more)

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