Flour beetles prefer corners over walls and are slowed down with increasing habitat complexity

Inon Scharf, Amit Radai, Dar Goldshtein, Kimberley Hanna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Movement affects all key behaviours in which animals engage, including dispersal and habitat use. The red flour beetle, known as a cosmopolitan pest of stored products, was the subject of our study. We examined whether the beetles preferred corners, walls or open areas, and how turns or obstacles in corridors delayed the beetles' arrival at a target cell. Beetles spent significantly more time in corners than expected by chance, while they spent considerably less time in open areas than expected. However, no significant difference was observed between areas with two or three surrounding walls. This could be attributed to the beetles' stronger attraction to corners than crevices or the insufficient proximity of the third wall to the other two. Movement through the corridor was delayed by turns or obstacles, expressed in arrival probabilities, arrival times, time in the corridor or movement speed. Obstacles on the corridor's perimeter had a stronger effect on the beetle movement than those in the corridor's centre owing to the beetles' tendency to follow walls. The research is important also for applied purposes, such as better understanding beetle movement, how to delay their arrival to new patches, and where to place traps.

Original languageEnglish
Article number231667
JournalRoyal Society Open Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - 17 Jan 2024


  • habitat selection
  • movement ecology
  • obstacles
  • pest ecology
  • thigmotaxis
  • wall-following behaviour

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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