How and Why Insects and Animals Form Swarms

Swarms of Bats Fish Organisms

In a cozy TED-Ed lesson by Maria R. D’Orsogna and animated by Matt Reynolds, narrator Julianna Zarzycki explains how a swarm forms, how the individuals within the swarm need to maintain the proper balance, how a swarm is self-governing boy and the many ways in which humans have learned from swarms.

When many individual organisms come together and move as one entity, that’s a swarm. From a handful of birds to billions of insects, swarms can be almost any size. They have no leader, and members interact only with their neighbors or through indirect cues. Members follow simple rules: travel in the same direction as those around you, stay close and avoid collisions.