The social brain of 'non-eusocial' insects

Curr Opin Insect Sci. 2021 Dec;48:1-7. doi: 10.1016/j.cois.2021.04.006. Epub 2021 Apr 29.


Decisions are seldom entirely devoid of social influence. Even in organisms that have traditionally been considered non-social, the social environment plays an important role in mediating behavior. Here we review the current knowledge regarding the neural basis of social behaviors in non-eusocial insects, with a particular focus on fruit flies, cockroaches and locusts. Each are shown to offer valuable, and complementary, insights into how social behavior is mediated at the neural level. The presented studies demonstrate that social cues, which are integrated in primary sensory areas, exert a considerable influence on behavior. Further studies with these models, and others, will provide important insights into the diversity of social behaviors, and into the way that these are encoded in dedicated brain and neuronal structures.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain
  • Cues
  • Insecta*
  • Neurons
  • Social Behavior*