Emergent periodicity in the collective synchronous flashing of fireflies

  1. Raphael Sarfati  Is a corresponding author
  2. Kunaal Joshi  Is a corresponding author
  3. Owen Martin
  4. Julie C Hayes
  5. Srividya Iyer-Biswas  Is a corresponding author
  6. Orit Peleg  Is a corresponding author
  1. University of Colorado Boulder, United States
  2. Purdue University West Lafayette, United States
  3. University of New Mexico, United States

Abstract

In isolation from their peers, Photinus carolinus fireflies flash with no intrinsic period between successive bursts. Yet, when congregating into large mating swarms, these fireflies transition into predictability, synchronizing with their neighbors with a rhythmic periodicity. Here we propose a mechanism for emergence of synchrony and periodicity, and formulate the principle in a mathematical framework. Remarkably, with no fitting parameters, analytic predictions from this simple principle and framework agree strikingly well with data. Next, we add further sophistication to the framework using a computational approach featuring groups of random oscillators via integrate-and-fire interactions controlled by a tunable parameter. This agent-based framework of P. carolinus fireflies interacting in swarms of increasing density also shows quantitatively similar phenomenology and reduces to the analytic framework in the appropriate limit of the tunable coupling strength. We discuss our findings and note that the resulting dynamics follow the style of a decentralized follow-the-leader synchronization, where any of the randomly flashing individuals may take the role of the leader of any subsequent synchronized flash burst.

Data availability

Data Availability: The data and code that support the findings of this study are openly available in the EmergentPeriodicity GitHub repository found at https://github.com/peleg-lab/EmergentPeriodicity

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Raphael Sarfati

    BioFrontiers Institute, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, United States
    For correspondence
    Raphael.Sarfati@Colorado.EDU
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  2. Kunaal Joshi

    Department of Physics and Astronomy, Purdue University West Lafayette, West Lafayette, United States
    For correspondence
    joshi84@purdue.edu
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0002-8001-1230
  3. Owen Martin

    BioFrontiers Institute, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  4. Julie C Hayes

    Department of Computer Science, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  5. Srividya Iyer-Biswas

    Department of Physics and Astronomy, Purdue University West Lafayette, West Lafayette, United States
    For correspondence
    iyerbiswas@purdue.edu
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  6. Orit Peleg

    BioFrontiers Institute, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, United States
    For correspondence
    orit.peleg@colorado.edu
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0001-9481-7967

Funding

Ross-Lynn Fellowship

  • Kunaal Joshi
  • Srividya Iyer-Biswas

Showwalter Trust

  • Kunaal Joshi
  • Srividya Iyer-Biswas

Purdue Research Foundation

  • Kunaal Joshi
  • Srividya Iyer-Biswas

Research Corporation for Scientific Advancement

  • Orit Peleg

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.

Reviewing Editor

  1. Irene Giardina, Università Sapienza, Italy

Version history

  1. Received: March 23, 2022
  2. Accepted: March 12, 2023
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: March 13, 2023 (version 1)

Copyright

© 2023, Sarfati et al.

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.

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  1. Raphael Sarfati
  2. Kunaal Joshi
  3. Owen Martin
  4. Julie C Hayes
  5. Srividya Iyer-Biswas
  6. Orit Peleg
(2023)
Emergent periodicity in the collective synchronous flashing of fireflies
eLife 12:e78908.
https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.78908

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https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.78908

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