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A Quantitative Measure of Aggregation in Insects

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Aggregation is both a statistical and fundamental biological characteristic of insects and other animals. The aggregative behavior of iionsocial as well as social insects has a direct bearing on reproduction and survival and thus affects population dynamics and evolutionary trends. Owing to the distinct lifestages of most insects, aggregation must be assessed throughout the entire lifecycle.

The occurrence of insects in natural units of their habitats is best expressed as a frequency series. The negative binomial distribution has proved applicable to a wide range of insect counts, and its parameter k is a valid, readily computed measure of aggregation. Examples from hypothetical and natural populations demonstrate its utility.

Use of the smallest feasible natural unit for sampling, multiple (nested) sampling, and stratification of the data by population density and other meaningful criteria will increase the accuracy and reliability of estimates of k.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 1959

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  • Journal of Economic Entomology is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December. The journal publishes articles on the economic significance of insects and is divided into the following sections: apiculture & social insects; arthropods in relation to plant disease; forum; insecticide resistance and resistance management; ecotoxicology; biological and microbial control; ecology and behavior; sampling and biostatistics; household and structural insects; medical entomology; molecular entomology; veterinary entomology; forest entomology; horticultural entomology; field and forage crops, and small grains; stored-product; commodity treatment and quarantine entomology; and plant resistance. In addition to research papers, Journal of Economic Entomology publishes Letters to the Editor, interpretive articles in a Forum section, Short Communications, Rapid Communications, and Book Reviews.
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