LOCUST SWARM PHOTOS: Plagues Triggered by Serotonin?

LOCUST SWARM PHOTOS: Plagues Triggered by Serotonin?
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Locusts swarm in Afghanistan during a 2002 plague that devastated crops.

In a January 2009 study, researchers found that the neurotransmitter serotonin causes desert locusts to swarm.

This could help people develop more effective control methods, such as perhaps spraying a compound on the gathering locusts that blocks their serotonin receptors and thus prevents them from swarming.

But preventing locusts from swarming could hinder, rather than help, remove the creatures—locust-control teams might have more difficulty killing the bugs if they're not in organized swarms, experts say.

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—Photograph by Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP
 
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